President Tokayev urges against panic buying of medicines

President Tokayev urges against panic buying of medicines

Those responsible for overpricing of medicines in the pharmacies would be held accountable. President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev urged Kazakh residents not to succumb to panic.

“In fulfillment of my instruction, the law enforcement agencies have begun detaining individuals involved in speculation of medicines. The work to provide Kazakh population with medicines continues. I appeal to Kazakh citizens with a request not to succumb to the panic that spurs a rush of demand for medicines,” Tokayev tweeted.

Currently, on behalf of the Kazakh President, the law enforcement agencies are conducting special raids across the country. Police patrols even social media and websites to detect the cases of selling medicines at inflated prices. Indeed, due to their shortage, the sale of medicines ‘under the counter’ at much higher prices has become a source of income for unscrupulous speculators. The ongoing raids prove to be effective. In just one day, in Nur-Sultan, police confiscated medicines worth 3.7 million tenge (US$9,046). In Almaty, two residents of the city were detained for trying to profit from doing such an illegal business. In Shymkent, more than 50 people were held accountable for selling medicines without a license. The owner of a private clinic in Atyrau will also be punished - she raised the cost of antiviral drugs 10 times. The cases of selling drugs at prices higher than the real cost were also detected in Karagandy. Five of such cases were recorded in Turkistan region. An entrepreneurial resident of Akmola region opened a pharmacy at home and sold medicines even at night.

“In Kazakhstan, 46 people were taken to the police in just one day, from whom 20,884 packages of medicines were seized, including 2,600 packages of glucose and ‘Fersinol’, 2,200 packages of ‘Aspirin’ and 654 packages of ‘Paracetamol’. Certain people are trying to make a profit by selling medicines that are in high demand. Such actions caused a panic in the market,” said Kazakh Health Minister Alexey Tsoy at a press briefing.

Law enforcement officials said that for the sale of medicines at inflated prices, the perpetrators will be punished in accordance with the Article 426 of the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Administrative Offenses. The fine for such violation reaches 2.78 million tenge (US$6,792).

Overall, the government addresses the problem of the shortage of drugs that are in high demand among Kazakh population. The procedure for importing medicines into the country was simplified. If two weeks ago, medicines worth 974 million tenge (US$2.3 million) were delivered to Kazakhstan, then last week medicines worth already 1.5 billion tenge (US$3.6 million) were imported.