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Egypt's contraceptive crisis worsened by illegal stockpiling

As contraceptive pills disappear from pharmacies in Egypt, allegations arise of illegal stockpiling by pharmaceutical companies in anticipation of a government-mandated price increase on the medication.
Medicine are arranged on a shelf inside in a pharmacy in Cairo, Egypt, November 17, 2016. Picture taken November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany  To match Insight EGYPT-CURRENCY/MEDICINE - RTSSSE9

CAIRO — For months, Egypt has been experiencing medication shortages. Popular types of imported contraceptive pills were among the first to disappear from pharmacies and move to the black market, causing concerns in a country already experiencing overpopulation, rising fertility rates and a severe economic crisis. Al-Monitor found evidence of illegal stockpiling of medications in anticipation of a significant government-mandated price increase to be partially responsible for the shortages.

The foreign contraceptive pills Gynera, Yasmin, Yaz and Microlut cost 30, 39, 65 and 16 Egyptian pounds ($1.60, $2, $3.40 and $0.80), respectively, until the price hike goes into effect, in comparison with the 1 and 4.5 pound prices ($0.05 and $0.20) for the Egyptian-manufactured Microcept and Triocept. In February, 15% of all domestic medications and 20% of imported medications will see price increases of between 30% and 50%, and another subset will undergo an increase in July.

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