Cairo,Egypt: Pharmacies in Egypt are now closed, as the country has been plunged into a severe economic crisis, with millions of Egyptians unable to buy basic essentials and the economy in dire straits.
The latest data released by the Egyptian Ministry of Health showed that as of January 1, 2017, the number of registered pharmacies had dropped by 24 percent, to 8,935, from 8,997, the previous year.
Egypt’s main pharmaceutical companies, such as Aliface, Alfa, Medica, and Zebra, all shuttered or are not operating at the present time.
The Ministry of Pharmacy is in charge of regulating the countrys main pharmacists.
On January 1st, 2017 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Egypt had decided to cancel its annual foreign exchange reserves, and was suspending the issuance of foreign currency.
The move was a sign of desperation on the part of the government, which has repeatedly said it will not issue new foreign currency and expects to take a loan from the IMF.
“Egyptians are facing dire economic conditions due to the recent closure of pharmacies,” said Dr. Samer Al-Bakr, head of the Egypt Medical Center and head of Alifaces pharmacy.
“Our patients and doctors are not able to purchase essential items, and the situation is worsening.
Our clinics are overwhelmed, our facilities are closed, and many of our doctors are out of work due to poor pay.”
In the capital, Cairo, where the government has been attempting to address the country’s economic crisis with a variety of measures, the government declared that it would be “reopening” pharmacies as soon as possible.
In a statement issued by the government on January 1: “We are announcing the start of the new calendar year, and will start the reopening of pharmacies at the earliest,” said Health Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Mubarak.
While it is unclear when the re-opening of Egyptian pharmacies will take place, a new government decree will allow for the reestablishment of pharmacies in parts of the country, including the countrywide capital of Cairo.
“The reopening is not the same as the normalisation of medicines, it is a political decision.
This will be a first step,” Al-Mouadik, the head of Zebro’s pharmacy, told Al-Monitor.
“The re-institution of pharmacies will be an important step in stabilising the economy.”
While the government said it would re-open pharmacies, the Egyptian Medical Association (EMA) told Al Jazeera that it is not prepared to go back to the way it was when it was established.
“If they reopen, they will bring back old medicines and it will be the same old thing.
The EMA will not accept any new medicines,” said Elham El-Tayyeb, a spokesperson for the EMA.
“We will be very upset, because the country needs medicine, not medicine that comes from abroad.
It is our responsibility to ensure that the people are provided with the best medicine.
It will not change any of our policies, but the fact that they are reopening pharmacies, they should re-do the whole re-examinations, not just the part that was done with foreign currency.”
In the past few weeks, Egypt’s economy has been in a state of shock, with the country already suffering from a massive economic crisis caused by the closure of the Egyptian pharmaceutical sector, with shortages of basic products, including basic household items, medicines, and foodstuffs.
The latest numbers show that the number that were able to buy their medicines dropped from 897,000 to 896,000 between January 1 and January 9, with just a handful of pharmacies remaining open.
The Ministry of Finance, which oversees Egypt’s banking sector, said in a statement on January 4 that it was cancelling the issuance of foreign currency, and suspending the issuing of foreign banknotes and deposits.
According to the report, the Ministry has decided to suspend the issuance and exchange of foreign exchange notes and the issuance/exchange of foreign deposits, which is the mechanism for the payment of the loan to the IMF from the International Monetary Fund.
The ministry has also decided to stop the issuance, exchange, and use of foreign credit cards, which were used by millions of people in Egypt to purchase goods and services.
Despite the government’s decision, many Egyptians are still unable to get their medications, as they do not have the money to pay for the expensive medications they have been told are available.
There is no official word on when the government will re-establish pharmacies in the country.
In a tweet, Egyptan blogger Naser Al-Ahmed said that the government should stop making false promises and start working towards solving the problem.
“I am asking the government to stop making promises and make good its promises