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Health at Stake: Pharmaceutical Company owner recounts losses, threatens to close

The soaring dollar rate leaves Pharmaceutical Company owner in Konyokonyo market contemplating closure as increasing prices mean dwindling sales and imminent losses, putting community health at risk.

Marko Ariath

James Thongbor, a pharmaceutical company manager in Juba’s Konyokonyo market, on Monday, counted losses after the Dollar rate soared to a record high over the weekend. Skyrocketing dollar prices left him with few choices. He said that increasing the prices of medicines means declining sales to pharmacies and clinics.

We are the people being affected the most by this dollar rate. The reason being, we import those drugs from foreign countries like China and India, and we buy them in hard currency,” he said.


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James says they have been rendered helpless considering the community they operate, for the scores of other Pharmacies struggling to stay afloat while enduring a deteriorating economy.

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The market is for both of us. Both the community and us the traders. We are helping the communities. If you look at our prices now, they are a little down compare to other pharmaceuticals. So, at times we are making losses. If we increase the prices, the drugs will remain in store until they get expired and we count it as a loss on our side, if we don’t increase, still we will be selling on losses,” he lamented.

Another trader, Tesfay, said the prices of medicines and other items in the market have increased in recent days as the shocks stemming from a worsening economic surge.

Expressing sadness, he said, “The community is the victim in all this. But we will have to close down if it continues like this.”

South Sudan’s health system heavily depends on private companies, with a high export rate of both medicines and medical equipment.

The United States Dollar has gained strength for the past one week and has risen to between 140,000 ssp to 145,000 ssp on Monday.

The question of whether the health system will stand the test of time remains to be seen.

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