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Many Drugs Unavailable, Others Unaffordable in Zimbabwean Pharmacies

Acute shortages of hard currency have resulted in the exhaustion of private pharmacy stocks of about half of all the pharmaceuticals they usually sell, pushing the price of those drugs that are available beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans.

People who need medication for high blood pressure, for example, must find between Z$18 million (US$9) and $25 million each month compared with Z$12 million not long ago. Inhalers for those suffering from asthma now cost around Z$18 million.

Many ordinary Zimbabweans make less than Z$50 million (US$25) a month.

Opposition lawmaker Blessing Chebundo, chairman of the parliamentary committee on health, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his panel will push for a hard currency allocation to struggling private pharmacies.

Zimbabwean physician Joshua Sibanda, now a resident of South Africa, told reporter Brenda Moyo that it is dangerous for those who are taking medication for blood pressure, diabetes and HIV to suddenly halt their treatments.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...