Pharmaceutical manufacturers are anxiously waiting for health minister Aaron Motsoaledi to make a decision on their request for an extra price increase on medicines to compensate for the rand’s slide, after an advisory committee submitted its recommendation to him last week. Manufacturers usually get one increase a year for private sector prices, but the minister has the power to allow an extra increase, and has previously done so. He will have to weigh up the concerns of an industry that says it was hard hit by a January price increase that failed to cover rising input costs against the prices charged to consumers and medical schemes. The weak rand has made imports more expensive and squeezed pharmaceutical manufacturers’ margins: they cannot pass on their increased input costs to consumers because medicine prices are controlled by the health department. The rand has shed 19% of its value against the dollar since the start of 2018 and closed at R15.24/$ on Friday. Pharmaceutical ma...

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