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World

Medicines running out after Egypt pound float

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World

Medicines running out after Egypt pound float

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00:00:01
>> Egyptians are struggling to find medicines, even life-saving ones. A currency plunge coupled with government price caps has made them suddenly twice as expensive to make or import. So they're running out across the country. Egypt abandoned its currency peg to the dollar earlier this month. Arwa Gaballa and Eric Knecht have been reporting the story for Reuters.
00:00:22
>> Its pound currency basically halved in value overnight. And what that meant for pharmaceutical companies is their cost of importing basically doubled. And in other markets that might be okay, because they can just raise their prices and sell to consumers at the new price. But in Egypt they can't.
00:00:39
>> The prices for medicines in Egypt are imposed by the state, and it's actually illegal to raise the prices. They basically had to downsize their production and stop producing a lot of the things that people really, really need, but that they can't afford to produce anymore.>> Right, so these things like cancer medications.
00:00:57
Things like insulin shots. Things like tetanus shots, things like contraceptives, even. Suddenly pharmacists, or drug companies rather, they can't even produce them, because if they do there'll be a loss. Raising prices in Egypt is pretty much off the table for the government, in how they talk to the public.
00:01:16
Because they're going through four measures, and austerity measures, ever since they took an IMF loan earlier this month, which floating their currency was part of that. And so they really want to assure the public that price rises are not going to be that bad. Something like 1,600 medicines are currently short, with 35 of them essential with no alternative, right?
00:01:39
>> We've spoken to more than one person yesterday who said things like, they just went from one place to the other for like four days, not being able to find their medications, basically, which is a bit of a crisis.