Crisis Looms as Prices Of Drugs Increase by 150%

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The inflationary trend in Nigeria seems to have hit the prices of antibiotics which are currently being put beyond the reach of the masses.
The investigation has shown that the prices of essential drugs, such as analgesics and antibiotics, have increased at an alarming rate across the country.
The unit prices of prescription medicines, such as those used to lower blood pressure for hypersensitive and diabetic patients, have also shot up so much so that some patients have started ‘rationing’ their medication.

A Punch correspondent, who visited some drug stores in Lagos, gathered that a sachet of unbranded Ampicillin capsules, which cost N200 a few months ago, depending on the location, now sells for N600 or more.

At the Medpoint Pharmacy in Surulere on Monday, the pharmacist on duty confirmed that the prices of antibiotics and other classes of drugs used to treat major infectious diseases had gone up.

She lamented that the increment was also affecting sales as many customers, who could no longer afford to purchase drugs at the current prices, had stopped coming.

She said, “We used to sell some pain relief drugs for N50 per sachet. Now a sachet costs between N150 and N200, depending on the brand. Ciprotab use to go for N650. Now it sells for N1,500. Also, branded antibiotics, which used to be sold for N3,500, now costs N4,800.

“We have stopped stocking some drugs because people get angry when we try to explain to them that the increment is from the wholesalers, not us.”

A pharmacist, Mrs. Adenike Ibrahim, who runs a drug store in the Ajara area of Badagry, complained to our correspondent that many of her colleagues could not stock their outlets due to the 150 per cent increment in the prices of drugs.

Ibrahim said, “The prices of some hypertensive drugs, used to lower blood pressure, were between N500 and N3,500 some months ago. Now the price are as high as N8,000. If you want to go for the known brands, it could be as high as N10,000.

“I know many hypertensive patients who told me that they would ration their drugs because they could not buy another batch. Those who used to go for the cheaper brands have stopped buying because they can no longer afford the prices.

“Do you know that I could stock this pharmacy with just N500, 000 in the past? Nowadays I need about N2m to do that. So I don’t bother to buy the big brands because most of my customers cannot pay for them.”

Ibrahim also expressed concern over the persistent hike in the prices of multivitamins and other supplements given to children and accused the wholesalers of taking advantage of the scarcity of foreign exchange to increase the prices of the drugs.

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