Yangon, August (31)

Myanmar may face a shortage of medicines in the following three months as a result of the military council’s changing policy and control over the dollar, pharmaceutical suppliers told Than Lwin Times.

In early April, the military council said that foreign currency must be converted into Myanmar currency within 24 hours at the rate of 1,850 kyats per dollar.

Although the authorities have instructed that if entrepreneurs need dollars for their imports, a member of the company director must personally apply, but they do not sell dollars on the ground.

A businessman claimed that, in addition to the dollar control and the ban on the import of medical equipment, importers of foreign medicine are having trouble doing business and that drug prices are skyrocketing.

A businessman claimed that because of the military council’s restrictions on imports of medicines and dollars, suppliers of different pharmaceuticals are having trouble keeping up with demand, and drug prices are skyrocketing.

In addition, because the military council does not allow import license applications for imports worth more than 100,000 dollars, a businessperson said that there are unnecessary delays as they have to apply for licenses multiple times.

According to him, this situation could bring back the monopoly system of investors, who can spend more money on the pharmaceutical industry and revive the black market.

The skyrocketing prices came two months after the military council announced that only those who can gather dollars themselves and pay the dealers directly will be granted import licenses for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

The regime’s central bank has also controlled the dollar by ordering companies with up to 35 percent foreign ownership to convert foreign exchange into the local currency starting July 15.

Pharmaceutical companies that import medicine have stopped operating due to difficulties in getting dollars, and many other companies are also likely to shut down.

85% of the pharmaceutical products sold in Myanmar are imported, primarily from China, India, Pakistan, and Thailand.

The remaining 15% is supplied by domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing factories.

News – Than Lwin Times

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