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Monday, 25 July 2016

Medications set to become scarcer as CBE tightens supply of foreign currency

Brace yourselves for a shortage of meds, Ossama Rostom, the deputy chairman of the pharma chamber, told Al Shorouk, alleging the CBE stopped supplying manufacturers in the sector with foreign currency more than a month ago. Rostom says the central bank is now directing all of its stock of foreign currency to food imports. He expects shortages of chemotherapeutics and cardiovascular agents as well as medical supplies including surgical sutures, warning the situation could deteriorate very rapidly.

Even accounting for the standard hyperbole of industry spokes-types, the warning is a significant red flag and raises the question not of “whether” additional capital controls should be imposed, but “when.” It also has us reading up on El Corralito (forgive us, please, the Wikipedia link, but it’s actually not a bad backgrounder.)

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