| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Medicine crisis is not as bad as you think, it’s worse!

The medicine crisis is exacerbating daily, pharmacies shelves are almost empty, and each sold box will not be replaced. Chronic medicines are almost impossible to obtain, and alternatives are often not available.

Pharmacist Maher Al-Etir said to Sawt “Beirut International” correspondent Ghassan Farran: “Every permanent drug has several alternatives, but recently we have started to witness a cut-off in alternative medicines as well, whether it is locally manufactured or imported, due to Governor of Banque du Laban’s signature crisis. Until now no radical solution has been found.

As in all various sectors, also in pharmacies there are “the black-shelves” through which the missing medicines are sold, but at much higher price. “There are people who have money trying to lure the pharmacist, expressing their desire to secure their family’s medicine at any price, and because the economic situation is difficult, some pharmacists respond to them.”

Some pharmacists get subjected to fraud methods, so how do they deal with it? Al-Etir answered:  “A customer may request a box of medicine, and shortly after that he sends his relatives to buy more, but they can be detected,” pointing out that it is important for pharmacist to sign the prescription in terms of the date of selling,, the medicine and the number of boxes with the pharmacy seal.

It should be noted that the debts owed to exporting medicines’ factories abroad, exceeded $600 million, or the equivalent of six months of Lebanon’s consumption of medicines. In other words, all medicines imported by Lebanon during the past six months have not yet been paid for to suppliers. So will we be Facing a double crisis, the crisis of dealing with the past, and the crisis of addressing future disasters?