The Syrian government decided to increase prices of drugs by 50%, the head of the pharmacies syndicate in Damascus said Tuesday, as the Syrian pound hit new a low in recent days.
Hassan Derwan did not give a reason for the price hike in his interview with the pro-government daily Al-Watan. Earlier this year, prices were raised by between 50% and 80%.
Syrian pharmaceutical companies mainly import raw materials in hard currencies which makes them susceptible to changes in the price of the Syrian pound. The companies have recently demanded to increase the price of their products to cope with the tumbling pound.
Since Syria’s conflict erupted 12 years ago — killing nearly half a million people and displacing about 6.8 million others — the country’s currency has lost much of its value and now the vast majority of Syrians live in poverty.
Back in 2011, a dollar was valued at 47 pounds. Last week, the dollar was valued at about 13,000 pounds on the parallel market while the official rate stood at 9,900. At the start of the year, the dollar was worth about 7,000 pounds.
The minimum monthly wage in Syria is 130,000 pounds or about $12.
Syria’s economy has been hard hit by the war, Western sanctions, widespread corruption and the historic economic meltdown in neighboring Lebanon that started in October 2019.