Lebanese are facing a series of shortages, from petrol to medication, as the government of the councilor discusses the lifting of subsidies.
Lebanese drug importers said hundreds of essential medicines had run out and warned there would be more shortages if the central bank with cash did not release funds.
Lebanese are facing a huge shortage, from gasoline to medication, as the caretaker government talks about raising subsidies that it can no longer afford in the midst of what the World Bank says is one of the worst financial crises in the world since the 1850s.
The local currency has lost more than 90% of its value on the black market, but the central bank has been providing importers with dollars at the much more favorable official rate to cover a large part of the cost of imported drugs.
“Drug imports have stopped almost completely over the past month,” the association of pharmaceutical importers said in a statement on Sunday.
“The stocks of hundreds of medicines from importing companies to treat chronic and incurable diseases have been depleted,” he warned. “And hundreds more will run out by July if we can’t resume imports as soon as possible.”
The union said the central bank had not released the promised dollars to pay overseas suppliers, which were owed more than $ 600 million in installments since December, and that importers could not obtain new ones. lines of credit.
The head of the union, Karim Gebara, told the AFP news agency that some drugs to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis were already out of stock.
If nothing is done, “the situation will be catastrophic by the end of July,” which will deprive the drugs of “hundreds of thousands of patients,” he warned.
On Thursday, President Michel Aoun said he, outgoing ministers and the head of the central bank had agreed to “continue to subsidize medicines and medical supplies” selected by the health ministry according to priority.
The government resigned after a deadly port blast on August 4 last year, but a deeply divided political class has failed to agree on a new cabinet to pull the nation out of the crisis.