The journalist specialized in economic affairs, Izzat El Hajj Hasan, has revealed to Sawt Beirut International’s reporter, Mahasen Morsel, the first scenario stipulating the mechanism of removal of medications subsidies:
“The committee specialized in setting a policy for rationalizing subsidies suggested that medicines should be divided into 3 categories, which was basically approved by the caretaker government. The first category relates to drugs that do not require a medical prescription to buy from pharmacies, such as Panadol, Paracetamol, and others, and it is currently very cheap, as the proposal is to lift the subsidy entirely or subsidize it at 3,900 pounds and the last proposal is more likely, and therefore the price will be on fire,” the journalist explained.
” As for the second category, it covers the medications that do need a medical prescription. This category has been divided into two parts, a low-price section and the other high-priced, and each section will be removed from subsidies at a different rate,” stressing that “this category, although the subsidy will not be removed from it completely, but its price will rise,” she added, explaining that the third category relates to drugs for incurable and chronic diseases, and for which it is not proposed to remove subsidies.
“In general, the poor citizen will have a considerable drop in his purchasing power, regardless of whether the subsidies are removed or not, as the unemployment rate and poverty rate increase in an alarming way, leading to thousands of families’ failures to purchase medications, even if they are cheap.” Hajj Hassan emphasized. “Removing drug subsidies is a clear crime.”
As for the alternative of lifting medicine subsidies, Hajj Hassan said: “Lebanon has suffered crises for one year and a half without any action being taken in order for authorities to act. It is necessary to form a government and start reforms in order to restore the international community confidence in the country.”
Most medicines are no longer available today. However, it is expected that medicines will become available once the subsidies will be removed, excluding medicines for incurring diseases which will remain affected by the crisis due to smuggling.