DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian government has decided to raise drug prices by 50%, the head of the pharmacy syndicate in Damascus said Tuesday, as the Syrian pound hit a new low in recent days.
Hassan Derwan gave no reason for the price increase in his interview with pro-government daily Al-Watan. Earlier this year, prices were increased by 50% to 80%.
Syrian pharmaceutical companies mainly import raw materials in hard currency, making them sensitive to changes in the price of the Syrian pound. The companies have recently demanded to raise the price of their products to cope with the falling pound.
Since the conflict in Syria broke out 12 years ago – which killed nearly half a million people and displaced about 6.8 million others – the country’s currency has lost much of its value and now the vast majority of Syrians are living in poverty.
In 2011, a dollar was valued at 47 pounds. Last week the dollar was valued on the parallel market at around £13,000 while the official exchange rate stood at 9,900. At the beginning of the year, the dollar was still worth around £7,000.
The minimum monthly wage in Syria is £130,000 or about $12.
Syria’s economy has been badly hit by the war, Western sanctions, widespread corruption and the historic economic collapse in neighboring Lebanon that began in October 2019.