Lebanese people’s health at stake! (1)
Reduced Drug Imports
Lebanon’s economic crisis has triggered a decline in the import and consumption of many goods, namely the drugs that affect the health and safety of Lebanese people.
The table below shows that the ratio of total imports into Lebanon, including drugs, has slightly increased in 2022 to pre-pandemic and pre-crisis levels. The value of drug imports has plummeted from USD 964.6 million in 2018 to USD 343.2 million in 2022, representing a decline of 64.47% or USD 621.4 million. In the year 2018, 10,129 tons of drugs were imported into Lebanon; But in 2022, only 6,171 tons of drugs were imported. This is a drop of 4,048 tons or 38.84%. In tandem, drug exports also decreased from USD 53.8 million in 2018 to USD 38.6 million in 2022, an overall decline of USD 15.2 million or 28.2%.
Several reasons lie behind this remarkable decline, namely:
-The inability of a large number of Lebanese to afford drugs.
-The use of less expensive drugs as a substitute for the more costly drugs.
-The increased reliance on locally manufactured drugs that are cheaper and of lower quality compared to their imported counterparts.
-The use of less expensive cancer drugs that have the same efficacy. Those drugs have been used historically in Lebanon.
-The travel of many Lebanese people to other countries such as Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran in order to purchase drugs at lower prices. This activity is so prevalent that medication became the travelers’ gift. This cross-border activity is not factored into studies on the import of drugs into Lebanon.
This table shows the import and export of drugs in Lebanon during the years 2018-2022.
Source: Information International based on the General Directorate of Customs.