Junta’s control of the dollar will likely lead to drug shortages in Myanmar within 3 months
Myanmar could face a drug shortage in the next three months due to the change in military council policy and control of the dollar, pharmaceutical suppliers told Than Lwin Times.
In early April, the military council said foreign currency must be converted into Burmese currency within 24 hours at the rate of 1,850 kyats to the dollar.
Although the authorities have indicated that if the entrepreneurs need dollars for their imports, a member of the director of the company must personally request them, but they do not sell dollars on the ground.
A businessman said that in addition to the control of the dollar and the ban on importing medical equipment, importers of foreign medicines are finding it difficult to do business and the prices of medicines are skyrocketing.
A businessman claimed that due to restrictions imposed by the military council on importing drugs and dollars, suppliers of different pharmaceuticals were struggling to keep up with the demand and drug prices were skyrocketing .
Also, as the military council does not allow import license applications for imports over $100,000, a businessman said there are unnecessary delays as they have to apply licenses multiple times.
According to him, this situation could bring back the monopoly system of investors, who can spend more money in the pharmaceutical industry and revive the black market.
The price spike came two months after the military council announced that only those who can raise dollars themselves and pay dealers directly will be granted import licenses for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
The regime’s central bank has also controlled the dollar by ordering companies owned up to 35% by foreigners to convert currencies into local currency from July 15.
Pharmaceutical companies that import drugs have ceased operations due to difficulties obtaining dollars, and many other companies are also likely to close.
85% of pharmaceutical products sold in Myanmar are imported, mainly from China, India, Pakistan and Thailand.
The remaining 15% is supplied by national pharmaceutical manufacturing plants.