Egypt: A new crisis appears on the surface.. shortage of dental anesthetics

The shortage of dental anesthetic has recently aggravated in Egypt, amid talk about the rise of a single package to EGP1000 against EGP400 before, which increases the suffering of dental patients in Egypt.

Recently, photos and videos have been excessively circulated on social networking sites, highlighting severe over-crowdedness at outlets selling dental anesthetic packages.

Anesthetic deficiency crisis is recurrent, as dentists suffer from this crisis from time to time. Dr. Ehab Heikal, the head of the Dentists Syndicate, attributed the the frequent shortage of dental anesthetics to a number of reasons, foremost of which was existence of a production crisis by the Alexandria Pharmaceutical Company.

The syndicate head said that the crisis worsened in the last period due to the lack of product in markets, pointing out that dental anesthetic packages had been subject to pricing by the state, where the price of the package ranged between 300 to 428 Egyptian pounds, while it is currently obtained for EGP1000 due to the lack of availability of the product in markets.

Heikal said, “There are only two factories in Egypt that produce dental anesthetics, but these two factories do not operate at maximum capacity, due to defects in the machines or the lack of components that are imported from abroad.”

He added: “We have recently discussed the dental anesthetic with the Minister of Health seeking a solution to the crisis as soon as possible. He added that this was in the presence of the head of the Unified Purchase Authority and the head of the Medicines Authority, as it is responsible for the release of the imported components.”

He added, “There is a crisis in the production of medical supplies in general, including the anesthetic crisis, pointing out that the shortcomings in the production of anesthetics are not only in Egypt, but at the global level.”

The head of the Dentists Syndicate added that the low price of anesthetic in Egypt is one of the reasons for its shortage: “The price of anesthetic in Egypt is lower than that in the world, so this matter was also discussed with the Egyptian Medicines Authority and efforts are underway to solve it.”

There are several problems facing dentists, not only in the lack of dental anesthetic, but also in the way it is distributed. Head of the Dentists Syndicate confirmed that distributors are raising prices on dentists. He added, “We suggested that the Unified Purchase Authority and the Medical Professions Company sell anesthetics to dentists directly, to eliminate this problem, especially since dentists need between 80 to 90 thousand packages of anesthetics per month.”

The head of the Dentists Syndicate stressed that the current solutions to the anesthetic crisis are all palliatives, not permanent, adding: “The permanent solution will take time in controlling the distribution and manufacturing process.”