The prices people pay for medicines in Zimbabwe

P Gavaza, T Simoyi, B Makunike, C C Maponga
Central African Journal of Medicine 2009, 55 (1-4): 14-9

OBJECTIVES: To collect, analyse and compare prices of medicines in different sectors and parts of the country and to compare them with the medicine prices in other countries.

DESIGN: A prospective cross sectional study.

SETTING: Pharmacy outlets in Zimbabwe comprising 27 retail pharmacies, 23 dispensing doctors, eight public hospital pharmacies and seven municipal clinics.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Median price ratios, 25th percentiles and 75th percentiles.

RESULTS: Innovator brands in the private sector were priced 10 times the International References Prices (IRP) and more than three times the price of generic medicines. Dispensing doctors were charging the highest prices for medicines and the public sector had the least prices. The national procurement agency, NatPharm, procured medicines at prices slightly below the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) prices. Prices of medicines in the public sector were higher than average prices for medicines from seven other African countries.

CONCLUSION: Medicine prices in Zimbabwe are high, a scenario that may compromise affordability and accessibility to medicines especially by the poor. Urgent steps are needed to reduce the level and effect of the high prices on the population, especially the poor.

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