ZIMBABWE’S state run medical supplies distributor National Pharmaceuticals (NatPharm) will soon open retail pharmacies nationwide starting in Harare to counter the extortionate three tier pricing of medicines, a Cabinet official said on Thursday.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The broadening of the company’s portfolio into retailing is expected to benefit Zimbabweans currently bearing the brunt of forking out the elusive US$. This move will see NatPharm as a player in the cut-throat market thereby increasing competition.
Addressing journalists after touring NatPharm, Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said this move will ensure reasonable pricing of medicines.
“There are retailers who were buying products from NatPharm and reselling them in US$ in town. So we have decided we are going to open a NatPharm Retail Pharmacy in town starting with Harare and we also want to go countrywide with that aspect,” he said. “So that we will be able to have products coming directly from NatPharm to their outlets in the town, and products being sold at the correct cost. Not exorbitant prices. Not in US$ but at the correct cost.”
Minister Moyo said the establishment of NatPharm retail pharmacies intends to bring convenience, affordability and accessibility of medicines to Zimbabweans.
“So we are making these things for the ease of the patients, to be able to access these medicines. In future we will make sure NatPharm becomes a superbrand throughout all the health institutions,” the Health Minister said.
The Health Minister explained that the medicines will be directly supplied and distributed to the company’s envisioned branches.
“So distributions will directly be from NatPharm to NatPharm Pharmacies at health institutions countrywide. So that’s one major aspect we are moving with,” he said.
He also said facilities need to be identified for the setting up of retail pharmacies.
“We have already instructed that they identify a facility in town in Harare, in Bulawayo, and other towns. They tell me that the facility in Bulawayo is ready and so the one in Harare will soon be open. So that we can sell medicines to the generality of the population at the correct prices,” Dr Moyo said.
Meanwhile, a consignment of drugs arrived at NatPharm with the company’s managing director Florah Sifeku hopeful that by Christmas they would have distributed the medicines across the country’s central and district hospitals as well as clinics.