The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) does not provide coverage of baby milk. Parents have to pay full price for it. On January 31st, Health Minister Hamad Hasan announced that baby milk will be added to the list of important imports supported by Lebanon’s central bank.
Prices of pharmaceutical drugs in Lebanon are high, but recently they have been dropping quickly. This drop in the prices of these drugs has put many pharmacies in danger of shutting down. Apart from no full health coverage, Lebanon has been struggling with a severe economic and liquidity crisis.
Prices drop benefit the people while they severely harm pharmacists. The need to reduce medication prices is important as the government does not provide health coverage.
On January 10th of this year, Banque du Liban (BDL) continued refusing to enlist baby milk among basic materials in the subsidized list created by the bank.
Previous Minister of Health Jamil Jabak froze implementing the decision of reducing baby milk prices on the pretext of awaiting the approval of the BDL to secure the credits required to import milk in dollars.
With the country having a dollar exchange rate crisis, with the exchange fluctuating between 2,200, and 3,000 LBP, minister Jamil Jabak was aiming to make this battle between the importers and the bank directly, and threatened the possibility of interruption of a number of imported milk.
The new Minister of Health has stated that the agreement on adding infant formula to the list of items subsidized by the bank is on, in addition to medical supplies, pharmaceutical drugs, wheat, and gasoline.
The new standards of pricing will be implemented on baby milk for ages 0 to 12 months in 2 weeks. The statement issued by the minister’s office said that price will not exceed LBP 12,000 for ordinary milk and LBP 13,200 for milk with a special formula.