Real problems have struck Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry. Vital medicines are proving impossible to import and, when available, they are too costly for most of Egypt’s eight million diabetics, four million high blood pressure patients, and its many more cancer sufferers and heart patients. Two thirds of Egypt’s pharmaceutical companies have shut down in the last few months. The UN reports:
Leading medical experts at the 5th conference of the Egyptian Cardiology Society in Cairo on 1 August, said more than 250,000 people faced the threat of paralysis or premature death because cerebrovascular accident drugs were nowhere to be found. People with diabetes were finding it almost impossible to get insulin, and if they could get hold of it, it was very expensive.
Since the revolution, domestic medicine production is down 50 percent. Import costs are sharply up. Additionally:
The government blames the unavailability of some locally manufactured drugs on speculators and middlemen who have been hoarding certain drugs to force people to buy the more expensive imported varieties – from which they get a cut.
“Prudence, indeed,” reads the American Declaration of Independence, “will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes”. Even justified revolutions are costly, dangerous and difficult — as Egyptians and others in the Arab world are learning for themselves.