Zimbabwe seals $25m medical deal with India to ease drug shortages

In a bid to ease drug shortages and deal with price distortions, Zimbabwe has signed a deal worth $25 million with India. The deal entails the South Asian country supplying medical equipment, medicines and surgical sundries.

“I am happy to note that an arrangement for $25 million worth of medical goods, medicines and surgical sundries has been concluded through the efforts of His Excellency,” Health and Child Care Minister, Obadiah Moyo confirmed.

Zimbabwe’s cash crisis bit hard into the health sector, leading to shortages of essential drugs. Pharmaceutical companies had to come up with a priority list for critical drugs after some drugs were considered ‘not important’. “Less important medicines such as cough syrups‚ supplements and other vitamin-based medicines‚ will no longer be a priority‚” Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe (PSZ) spokesperson Sikhumbuzo Mpofu stated in October.

Zimbabwe imports at least 80 percent of its drugs. With the shortage of cash and the prioritization of drugs in the country, most pharmacies ran out of imported drugs. When doctors could no longer take it, they went on strike.

However, with the medical supplies expected, Moyo urged the doctors to resume work. “We want everyone to go back to work and look after patients,” he said.

Discussions are still ongoing between Zimbabwe and India for another consignment of 100 tonnes of medicines. The health sector should start getting medicines and medical supplies soon, Moyo stated. India is known for its leading pharmaceutical industry.