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Pharmacists Syndicate Calls For Strike

If observed, drugstores will shut down daily from 9 AM to 3 PM for two weeks starting January 15th, and so far, more than 50 thousand pharmacies are expected to participate in the strike. Those who don't risk a fine of 5000 EGP by the syndicate.

In protest of the decision to lower pharmacists' profit margins, the Pharmacists Syndicate has called on all pharmacy professionals to go on a partial strike for two weeks starting January 15. The decision was reached in a vote during an urgent general assembly meeting held by the syndicate on December 23rd, threatening to escalate to a total strike if their demands are not met by the end of January.

If observed, drugstores will shut down daily from 9 AM to 3 PM for two weeks starting January 15th, and so far, more than 50 thousand pharmacies are expected to participate in the strike. Those who don't risk a fine of 5000 EGP by the syndicate.

In December, local pharmaceutical companies held a series of negotiations with the government, in which they demanded a 50% increase on 15% of the drugs they produced. Their demands were eventually overlooked by the government, which decided instead to raise the prices by 10% on all products by local pharmaceutical companies in February. The government's decision was in turn rejected by said companies.

As a result of the negotiations, pharmacists' profit margin is expected to be lowered down to 18% from 25% to counter the anticipated price increase, which is set to go into effect in February.

In a press conference held on December 26th, the Pharmacists Syndicate stated that it's not seeking to increase the profit margin to 30% - as reported by pro-government news outlets - but to implement decree no. 499/2012, which sets a pharmacist's profit margin at 25% for local medications and 18% for imported ones.

The Pharmacists Syndicate also threatened to report to the general prosecutor what it views as "monopoly by medicine companies," which it claims have refrained from distributing medications in anticipation of price increases in February, according to an official statement.

The statement concluded by calling on pharmacists to adhere to the general assembly's decision, threatening to fine and punish those who don't.   

(Photo: Wall Street Journal)


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