Foreign suppliers of pharmaceutical drugs are demanding payment upfront for orders from the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) because of the foreign currency shortages the country is facing.
This was revealed by NatPharm Managing Director, Florah Sifeku to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, which was on a fact finding tour of the company today.
“Foreign suppliers are refusing to supply us with drugs without any payment having been made because of the foreign currency situation in the country. Last time, we received just US$600 000 for procurement of drugs against our requirement of $5.5million each month,” she said.
Chairperson of the committee, Dr Ruth Labode and other members of the committee told NatPharm management to prioritise the poor people when supplying drugs to local pharmacies through their strategic business unit which has been focusing more on supplying drugs to private pharmacies who pay them in foreign currency.
Natpharm also revealed that the government has asked the company to prepare a list of their requirements, believed to be in the region of US$25million for the purchase of drugs.
Natpharm requires US$77 million worth of drug supply for 2019.