The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) says the country has a thriving black market for medicines as the high cost of drugs makes them unaffordable to many people.
MCAZ director Gugu Mahlangu said yesterday that locally produced medical products are likely to cost more than imports because of the high cost of production as most raw materials are being sourced from outside the country.
The high cost of production has led to a thriving black market for unregulated medical products, putting the health of many people in danger, the regulator said.
“Local manufacturers face stiff competition from external manufacturers in pricing due to their high operation costs and the fact that they have to import all the raw materials from abroad. These costs inevitably make their products more expensive than imported medicines,” MCAZ director Gugu Mahlangu.
“It should, however, be noted that MCAZ does acknowledge the existence of some of these black markets for medicines which are mushrooming especially at Mbare Musika.”
The difference in regulations between Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries meant that it was easy for drugs banned in the country to find their way into the local market, including pharmacies, she said.
“Because of these issues we have started engaging regulatory authorities from neighbouring countries to address exportation of these medicines right from the source,” said Mahlangu.
She said Zimbabweans would be better served by having medical aid which ensures that they get the right medication.
“Those that have medical insurance, their access to medicines prescribed by their practitioners and health services in general are likely to be better served than those citizens that do not have such cover,” she added.- The Source