Health Minister: Health security is a red line

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The Minister of Public Health in the caretaker government, Dr. Hamad Hassan, announced that “it is not possible to accept the reality of the historical situation that prevailed in Lebanon with the control of money mafias and drug cartels, but rather it must be confronted with boldness and responsibility, especially since the current conditions are completely different from what prevailed; and if the owners of capital From the godfathers of health care, they invest only for profit, so they have to adjust their priorities, as the citizen is a soul, not a commodity.”

He added: “Some officials and politicians discussed in the media the cartels of money in medicine and supplies, but did not reach the honor of the confrontation that I am waging.”

In an interview with Al-Manar channel, he stressed that “health security is a red line, and the raids it carries out do not target anyone, but rather confront monopoly and corruption to protect all citizens of all sectarian and regional spectrums,” adding that “the ministry is making an inventory of thirty-six warehouses of supplies, implants and medical reagents, including three of them.” In the southern suburbs, and there are no red lines in this area.”

He said: “The legitimate question now is: Why was the problem of dialysis resolved after controlling the assets?”

He reassured citizens that “the supplies are stacked in warehouses, which indicates that the merchants were waiting for the zero moment to announce the lifting of subsidies in order to sell the goods covered by the subsidy at the market exchange rate. Therefore, this challenge had to be faced and moved because the citizen is the weakest link.”

And directed to the companies: “The goods will rot with you, and we will not accept, even if the subsidy is lifted, that the subsidized goods be sold at other than the subsidized price.”

He stressed that “the great price and discretionary violations in the arrest and inflation of the bills that he uncovered in the Baushrieh Dam warehouse are now in the hands of the judiciary, as it is correct to say that what was happening was not a profit, but rather a described theft that transcends the trade laws in any country.”

And he continued: “Regardless of the judicial procedures and going the file to the end, it is necessary to ensure the continuation of the company’s work to deliver the products to the citizens.”

He pointed out that “the Ministry of Public Health is scrutinizing today 26 files submitted by 18 companies. If companies want not to be attacked, they must work transparently because follow-up and investigation will continue as long as the problem exists with the aim of delivering supplies, implants and medical reagents to citizens without blackmail or favor from anyone.”

The Minister of Health announced his intention to reconsider the pricing policy, “which has not yet included medical supplies and implants and laboratory reagents,” stressing that he “will seek to implement a policy similar to the drug policy in terms of pricing according to the category and price in the country of origin, while obtaining a percentage of the reasonable profit.”

He revealed that the governor of the Central Bank “did not mention raising the subsidy in a recent meeting he held with him, in the presence of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Health Committee, Dr. Assem Araji. On the contrary, he confirmed the continuation of payment of a ceiling of one hundred million dollars per month.”

As he asked the bank to provide the ministry with invoices for subsidized goods from the beginning of the year 2020 to check the price commitment, he hoped in the event of any change in the bank’s strategy that a discussion would take place with the Ministry of Public Health, “which has alternative plans and scenarios that guarantee the health security of the citizen.”

In this regard, Hassan pointed out that the World Bank, “which stands by and supports the Ministry of Public Health, recommended not to lift subsidies for supplies and medicine before 2023.

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