tayyar.org – The mafia is blocking medication

tayyar.org – The mafia is blocking medication
tayyar.org – The mafia is blocking medication

Rajana Diet-

Today, most pharmacies are closed, in compliance with the warning strike decision announced by the assembly of pharmacy owners. Pharmacies had no other option to confront the disaster threatening them and the citizens, especially in light of the scarcity of medicine. The first cause of this disaster, in their opinion, is to intimidate the governor of the Banque du Liban by lifting subsidies on medicine, who opened the door to chaos in the drug market, its “heroes” some drug dealers, owners of some warehouses and some pharmacies that took advantage of the matter to trade in medicine

About three months ago, a number of pharmacists launched the first “uprising” over their situation in light of the decline in the exchange rate of the pound against the dollar, which caused about 200 pharmacies to close their doors permanently. At that time, the “profit” was the cause of the uprising, after the pharmacists ’payments – denominated in the black market currency – exceeded their sales, which are still being spent on the basis of the official price. At that time, the invitation did not obtain a unanimous agreement, and remained confined to a small number of pharmacists.

Today, they are preparing for another uprising. This time, the invitation was comprehensive and the reasons were more than just a royalty, provided that “this first warning step will be followed by escalatory steps in the event the downward trend continues as it is,” according to the statement issued yesterday by the assembly of pharmacy owners. And while this gathering did not carry in the morning anything but the signature of pharmacists of the “Pharmacists Symposium in the Phalanges Party”, it soon became a comprehensive statement with the joining of the “interests” of pharmacists in a number of parties and regions. Thus, hours after the symposium’s statement was published, the Pharmacists ’Authority in the Free Patriotic Movement, the Future Movement, the National Democratic Rally and the Islamic Society of Pharmacists announced their support for the warning strike, even if the warning“ hours ”varied between them. While the symposium called for the closing of the entire day, others, including the Islamic Society, called for a maximum of 4 hours to be closed.

This is a matter of options for pharmacists, as it is not in the service of citizens. However, the reasons that were recently gathered, made it difficult to think of less “hostile” options. It is true that the reward is still among the reasons, but what was added to it was “the reason for our arrival here,” says the author of the invitation, head of the Pharmacists’ Symposium in the Brigades, Joe Salloum. According to Salloum, at the top of that list is the state’s “triad” – the Banque du Liban – the Syndicate of Drug Importers. These three arms, according to Salloum, are “that humiliated the citizen and made our pharmacies free of medicine.”

However, the responsibilities are not equal here; The state’s responsibility, according to the pharmacists themselves, is almost limited to standing idly by without using its powers. This cannot be compared to what the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, did in a few months, and what drug importers and pharmaceutical factories in Lebanon followed suit. Salameh has done in the past two months what the financial crisis has not done for about a year, as his successive statements about the possibility of removing subsidies on medicine due to the lack of import dollars reflected panic among citizens who began rushing to buy and store medicines for fear of interruption or high prices. With the Importers Union adopting a new approach to distribution, it was tougher than … rationing of electric current. Here, pharmacists complain that importers are obligated to pay “cash” for the medicine. Nevertheless, Salloum asserts that the problem of “cash” is barely mentioned in light of “the discretionary behavior of the importers, which strengthens the grip of the major pharmacies over the small ones”, in addition to “the delay in delivering the medicine.” While we used to receive the medicine the next day of his request, today he needs a whole week. ” In addition, the rationing policy has reached the point of “delivering us the medicine on the basis of last year’s data, that is, on the basis of what we were receiving at the time,” according to Hammoud Al-Mousawi, president of the Islamic Association of Pharmacy.

Pharmacists may understand the drug importers union’s argument for adopting the rationing option in the context of preserving stocks, but what they do not understand is the “discretion in abuse.” At a time when a normal pharmacy receives “3 packs of Panadol, another pharmacy receives 6 boxes,” according to what pharmacist Ali Ezz El-Din says. Pharmacists do not see an explanation for this other than the “collusion” of the owners of companies with some large distributors and owners of warehouses and pharmacies – the mafia, “which is a network that works on the line of smuggling medicine abroad after it became very cheap.” In addition, some pharmacists talk of “owners of large warehouses and pharmacies who have recently been active in sending some people to collect medicines from pharmacies.”

The “triad” of the state – Banque du Liban – importers is behind the crisis of drug interruption

It is true that these accusations do not have documented evidence, but it is possible to rely here on the discussions of the Parliamentary Health Committee, whose president, Assem Araji, spoke about an active smuggling movement “on the lines of Iraq, Libya and even Syria.” It is true that these discussions did not rise to the level of investigation. However, what troubles the committee is the answer to the question: Where did the medicines go if the BDL spent this year $ 775 million for import? It is “only 10% less than last year.” Where did you go? Araji finds only one of two things: “It is either a bufferer or something that is evading”, and there is no third option. There are many who are involved, from importers, to warehouse owners, to national drug factories that took advantage of the Ministry of Health’s permission to export medicine for commercial purposes, to some pharmacists. In the last point, the Ministry of Public Health yesterday suspended two pharmacies with a dual function: buying and storing medicines in preparation for smuggling them. The first, according to what Health Minister Hamad Hassan said, bought “a large quantity of medicine boxes for treating cancer at a subsidized price and sells it abroad.”

A complex episode… sponsored by the Banque du Liban and the protection of merchants, citizens and pharmacies that do not belong to the mafia fell victim to. This is a responsibility that the state bears, which has not fulfilled the powers granted to it by the law in terms of imposing its control over “everyone involved in the drug file,” according to what the head of the National Health Authority, Dr. Ismail Sukariyah, says. The latter, represented by the Ministry of Public Health, did not notice her powers, except when “the cow fell,” the Sukkariya stamped.

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