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Some African countries pay 30 times more for common medications like paracetamol

Most of us are well aware of the detrimental condition in the African countries. If you go towards the central part of the continent, the situation worsens. The countries there are stuck in poverty, malnutrition and high crime rates.

They usually rely on humanitarian aid for their assistance that itself has a number of problems. First and foremost, the aid is targeted towards a certain segment of the society as opposed to the entire population in general. Additionally, there are always strings attached which make it even more difficult for the countries.

Having said that, a new report has highlighted another grave concern in the African continent. According to the statistics released, a majority of the low-income regions in Africa tend to buy medications 30 times more their normal cost.

What that really means for these countries?

Only the rich have access to important drugs while the poor are left with unavailability or resorting towards alternatives that do not always work.

High prices of drugs in African countries

The study was conducted by researchers from the Global Health Policy. The findings were documented in the report that titled “Drug procurement in the lower income African countries.” Accordingly, the researchers surveyed the countries most struck by poverty and made a note of the prices of vital drugs.

Included in the list were countries such as Zambia, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad. The finding showed the problem in the region to be utterly worrisome.

For common medications such as paracetamol, the price can go up to thirty times higher than the available price in the USA or the UK. A similar trend was also observed for other vital medications like painkillers, antibiotics etc.

When the report was documented, the researchers then looked into some of the reasons for higher prices. While no one single reason could be identified, a number of holistic explanations were put forward.

Reasons for High Prices

The foremost concern with these low-income African countries is that the drug industry operates as a monopoly. In a more economic sense, that means the market is ruled by one player who has ultimate control.

That company operating the monopoly is able to set a price according to its own likeness without worrying about any backlash. Because there is no other alternative to resort to, people end up buying the drug at a higher price.

In simpler words, the lack of competition in the African drug industry is primarily responsible for higher prices. For developed countries, the market is characterized by several players striving towards more buyers. As a result of the competition, the prices are inevitably drawn lower.

In conclusion, we know for a fact that the situation appears to be very problematic. African people are deprived of basic necessities including access to vital medications. It is incumbent on developed nations to step into the picture and do to their utmost capacity.

As a first step, countries like the USA, UK can introduce programs that make the drugs available to the population at a much-subsidized rate. This step should then be followed by incentivizing companies in the region to set up operations in the industry so prices are lowered.

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Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson is a journalist for Top Health Journal. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Cindy got an internship at a morning radio show and worked as a journalist and producer. Cindy has also worked as a columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Cindy covers economy and community events for Top Health Journal. Contact Email: cindy@tophealthjournal.com Phone: 720.907.1923

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