Zimbabwe pharmacies defy government


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Some pharmacies in Harare are still selling drugs in United States dollars defying the government which reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar last month and made it the sole legal tender for local transactions.

While US dollars are hard to come by for most people, the drugs are much cheaper in US dollars because pharmacies that are selling them in the local currency have pegged the prices at an exchange rate of 20:1 almost three times the interbank rate.

The interbank rate and the black-market rate of the Zimbabwe dollar against the greenback are now at par with the black-market rate for cash some 35 to percent lower than the electronic rate.

This means that even those with US dollars now have to pay two to three times what they would normally pay if they have to change their US dollars into local currency first.

According to the Sunday Mail online, pharmacies selling drugs in US dollars said they were doing so because they imported the drugs using foreign currency.

Secretary for Health Agnes Mahomva, however, said drugs are readily available from the National Pharmacy Company in local currency.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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