Mozambique: Pemba bishop estimates over 500 dead so far in Cabo Delgado attacks
The Mozambican state-owned pharmaceutical company, Farmac, is in a state of near collapse, without even enough money to pay its workers, according to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily Noticias.
The “Noticias” reporters visited several of the pharmacies in Maputo owned by Farmac and confirmed what anybody looking for medicine has known for some years – there is virtually nothing on the Farmac shelves.
Even a simple aspirin is hard to find at Farmac. All that is readily available are condoms, the useless bottles of multivitamin pills, and maybe a few painkillers.
The current general director of Farmac, Noemia Mussa, recognised that the company is unable to pay its workers. She blamed this on management failings and on theft of medicines by some of the work force.
“I came to the company a year ago, and it already had accumulated debts”, she said. She was not certain how large the company’s debts are, but believed they did not exceed 50 million meticais (about 820,000 US dollars).
After the nationalisation of medicine shortly after Mozambican independence in 1975, the state set up two state companies. One, Medimoc, was for the import and export of medicines, while the second, Farmac, was to manage the country’s pharmacies.
After the liberalisation of the medical market in the 1990s, private pharmacies were set up and proved able to provide most of the medicines citizens wanted, albeit at higher prices than those charged by Farmac.
To deal with this competition, Medimoc changed its status and became a limited company. Farmac remained under state tutelage, but without any state money.
“We never received funds from the state for our running costs”, said Mussa. “We have to work, raise income and pay our own accounts and our own wages. That’s what we are concentrating on right now”.
Noticias wondered whether the lack of basic medicines in the Farmac pharmacies was because Medimoc had reduced its imports in recent years.
A Medimoc spokesperson denied this and pointed out that currently over 100 companies are licensed to import medicines. If Medimoc does not have any particular drug, Farmac can look for it in other companies. “Farmac is free to order services from any importer, depending on its needs”, said the spokesperson.
Farmac workers who spoke to the paper said they have not been paid for seven months. They explained that the company’s decline began five years ago, but over the past year the situation has reached such a point that wages are not being paid and medicines are no longer being acquired.
The blamed the situation on mismanagement and undue use of the company’s resources by its officials. They said that whenever they made suggestions to improve matters, these were brushed aside.
“They say we don’t understand anything about management, because we didn’t go to university”, said one of the workers, on condition of anonymity. “But they forget that for years we contributed to the good of the company, and we never had crises on this scale”.
The workers recalled a time when Farmac made a profit. “We used to receive prizes, but now we don’t even have our wages”, they lamented.
Watch a Miramar TV report from October 19 below:
Farmac clients are also deeply worried. For some of them, with chronic conditions, depend on drugs that they were once able to acquire at an accessible price at Farmac. The drugs exist in the private pharmacies, but at much higher prices.
“Noticias” found a 70 year old man, Martinho Langa who had been looking for the previous ten days for a drug to treat his high blood pressure, but without success. “In the private sector the price of all the pills I need is more than 2,000 meticais”, he said. “I’m a pensioner and my monthly pension is about 2,000 meticais. All I can do is wait until the end of the month when I receive my pension and use it all to buy the medicines”.
“They want to kill us bit by bit, especially those of us who are elderly”, Langa accused. “They forget that one day they too will reach our age”.Source: AIM / Miramar
No coronavirus cases in Mozambique - MISAU
Pope Francis' full speech at Ponta Vermelha, Mozambique - Watch
Funded by Russia: Zimbabwe set to build 1.5 billion fuel pipeline, in partnership ...
Total orders eight LNG carriers for Mozambique project