NatPharm mulls requesting Health Levy Fund in forex 

Source: NatPharm mulls requesting Health Levy Fund in forex | The Herald November 22, 2018

NatPharm mulls requesting Health Levy Fund in forexUS dollars

Manicaland Correspondent
THE National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) is considering requesting Government to avail the Health Levy Fund (HLF) in foreign currency to make the procurement of medical drugs hassle-free.

Speaking at a health stakeholders meeting recently in Mutare, NatPharm managing director Mrs Florah Fifeku said they wanted to increase the supply of medicine to address the current medical shortages.

“While the company applauds Government for the support it has been extending, the HLF would go a long way if it is availed in foreign currency,” she said.

“At the moment, the company has floated a tender worth US$93 million that is awaiting foreign currency availability.”

Mrs Fifeku said if the Government availed the HLF in foreign currency, it would boost production at local pharmaceutical companies.

“Currently, we have been supporting the local industry through the fund we are receiving from Government,” she said.

“However, most of the companies require foreign currency to source essential raw materials to operate at full capacity. NatPharm would be able to access raw materials from our biggest supplier, India, at cheaper prices so that local industry would be able to produce enough medication to meet national needs.”

Mrs Fifeku said despite the harsh economic environment, Government had assisted the company to remain afloat.

“We have improved our organisation’s performance despite the unfavourable economic environment we are operating in,” she said.

“Delivery coverage to institutions improved from 95 to 97 percent over the past year and the availability of medicine also increased due to the support from Government through the Health Levy Fund.”

Mrs Fifeku has blasted retail pharmacies who are selling drugs in foreign currency, saying it was a criminal offence.

“We have been receiving some foreign currency from the Government to buy vital drugs and equipment on behalf of all medical practitioners,” she said.

“Among these drugs there is Novo Insulin, which we are supplying in local currency, yet most pharmacies are selling them in foreign currency.”