• Beirut

  • Friday, January 19, 2024 at 5:04 AM
    Last Update : Friday, January 19, 2024 at 5:04 AM

Economic Crisis Forces International Pharmaceutical Companies to Close Beirut Offices

(AWP) - International pharmaceutical companies were forced to shut down their scientific offices in Beirut amidst Lebanon’s economic turmoil that has led to a steep devaluation of the local currency.

Workers and experts in the pharmaceutical field are warning of the consequences that closing scientific offices will have on the availability of medicine and the quality of treatment, as well as the impact on Lebanon’s status as a destination for hospitalisation and medical tourism.

Dr. Joe Salloum, President of the Lebanese Order of Pharmacists, said, “Lebanon is known for its innovative medicine – modern medicine – which used to enter Lebanon, sometimes even before the country of origin. This is thanks to the scientific offices that were exclusively in Lebanon, and not present in neighbouring countries. 60% of these offices have closed, while 40% of them have reduced their representation to a minimum.”

“Scientific offices today are responsible for clinical research on any innovative drug and educating the medical and pharmaceutical communities on how to deal with these drugs,” he explained.

The economic crisis affecting Lebanon since 2019 has impacted the ability of pharmaceutical import companies to cover their expenses due to the devaluation of the Lebanese pound against the US dollar.

Dr. Youssef Abdelke, a member of the Lebanese Pharmaceutical Importers Association, said, “We represent agencies for foreign companies in Lebanon, and there are partnerships with these companies. Today when decisions are issued by global companies and offices, the scientific offices are part of a global network concerned with research, development and production. But in the end, it’s about investment. Therefore, when such a decision is made, we will lose these agencies.”

He added, “As a result, we will not be able to provide the medication to the patient. At the same time, we want to cover our operating expenditures, which are now paid in foreign currency. We want to cover our employees’ salaries. This will cause a 50% disruption, not to mention the countless companies that have closed.”