May 16, 11:35 AM EDT

Egypt's government has allowed for a 20 percent increase in prices of domestically manufactured medicines


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CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's government has allowed for a 20 percent price increase for domestically manufactured medicines.

The state-run MENA news agency is quoting Health Minister Ahmed Emad as saying on Monday that the decision aims to encourage local manufacturers who have been suffering from high costs of production, which have forced some to shut down.

Egypt imports a multitude of goods, including raw material used in the manufacturing of medicines. The Egyptian pound was last officially devalued in March but has since fallen to new lows, with many worried over a possible surge in prices.

The minister says that 4,000 medicines are no longer available in Egypt because their production costs more than their price.

The prices of locally manufactured medicines are set by a special Health Ministry committee responsible for pricing.

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