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Authorities in Turkey probe warnings of medicine shortages after lira crash

Turkish authorities are probing discrepancies between records and actual supplies of some medicines, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, after consumers, pharmacies and industry heads warned of disruptions to supplies due to a currency crash.
The ministry said discrepancies had been detected at 54 warehouses and 261 pharmacies, and investigations had begun.
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It “took action on allegations that access to some critical drugs became more difficult due to rising foreign exchange rates,” the ministry said.
The lira plunged some 25 percent in November, its fifth-worst month ever, after President Tayyip Erdogan defended aggressive interest rate cuts despite widespread criticism and inflation of near 20 percent.
As the lira hit a series of record lows, Turks told Reuters they were struggling to find some medications while sector leaders said stocks were shrinking and warned of supply disruptions due to import price spikes.
Nezih Barut, the chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Turkey, said in an interview that some pharmaceuticals are not on the market due to the currency depreciation, which he called “unsustainable” for importers and manufacturers.
The Turkish Pharmacists Association said earlier this month there was already trouble accessing 645 medicines.
Turkey’s pharmaceutical market was worth 48 billion lira ($4 billion) last year with 24 billion lira in imports.

Read more: Turkey’s Erdogan stays firm on interest rates, lira weakens four percent

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Russian ruble holds steady at 96 against the US dollar ahead of tax payments


The Russian ruble steadied near 96 to the dollar on Tuesday, trading in a narrow band, supported by upcoming tax payments and high oil prices.
At 0710 GMT, the ruble was 0.2 percent stronger against the dollar at 96.10 and had gained 0.3 percent to trade at 101.69 versus the euro. It had firmed 0.1 percent against the yuan to 13.13.
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Month-end tax payments, that usually see exporters convert foreign currency revenues to pay local liabilities, support the ruble, but the currency can slide early in the month once the period has passed.
The ruble has also now lost the temporary support of higher sales of foreign currency than usual by the central bank, which was selling around 21.4 billion rubles of yuan a day until the start of this week.
“At the end of the week, when the tax period ends, there is a high likelihood of the resumption of the national currency’s smooth devaluation,” said Alor Broker’s Alexei Antonov.
Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 1.1 percent at $92.23 a barrel.
Russian stock indexes were lower.
The dollar denominated RTS index was down 0.5 percent to 992.5 points.

The ruble based MOEX Russian index was 0.6 percent lower at 3,028.8 points.
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Digital, electric solutions can cut carbon emissions in office buildings by 70 pct


Retrofitting buildings using a digital-first approach is the best pathway to decarbonization, according to new research from Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.
Buildings represent an estimated 37 percent of global carbon emissions, and as about half of today’s buildings are still likely to be in use in 2050, the sector must urgently reduce operational carbon emissions, by making buildings more energy efficient.
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The research findings show that deploying Schneider Electric’s digital building and power management solutions in existing office buildings could reduce their operational carbon emissions by up to 42 percent with a payback period of less than three years. If fossil fuel-powered heating technologies are replaced with electric-powered alternatives, and a microgrid with local renewable energy sources is installed, all-electric, all-digital buildings will see an additional 28 percent reduction in operational carbon emissions resulting in a total reduction of up to 70 percent.

Mike Kazmierczak, Vice President of the Digital Energy Decarbonization Office, the team leading the science-based research and product innovation to accelerate the energy transition within Schneider Electric’s Digital Energy division, explained that, “Tackling operational emissions is the number-one lever to decarbonize existing buildings at scale and achieve net-zero emissions targets by 2050. This breakthrough research reveals that reducing carbon emissions by up to 70 percent is feasible if we transform our existing building stock into energy-efficient, fully-electrified, and digitized assets.”
The research, carried out with the global design firm WSP, is based on modeling the energy performance and carbon emissions of a large office building built in the early 2000s across various US Climate Zones. This digital approach to building renovations is, however, applicable to all building types and climates, and is, therefore, the most effective building decarbonization strategy, yielding fast results with lower ‘upfront carbon.’
Renovating through the deployment of digital technologies is not only less disruptive to daily operations, but also more effective from a lifecycle carbon perspective. Failing to rapidly decarbonize buildings could also result in stranded assets that lose value and are unattractive to both investors and tenants.
Furthermore, recent research from the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability and the Schneider Electric Sustainability Research Institute estimates that there is a sizable potential to create new jobs through the transition to low-carbon buildings.

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UK’s cost of living crisis to significantly increase early death: Study 


The UK’s inflation-fueled cost-of-living crisis is set to “cut lives short” and “significantly widen the wealth-health gap”, according to a study published by open access journal BMJ Public Health on Monday.

Modelling conducted for the study predicted that the proportion of people “dying before their time” (under the age of 75) will rise by nearly 6.5 percent due to the sustained period of high prices.

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The most deprived households will experience four times the number of extra deaths than the wealthiest households, it forecast, with the poorest having to spend a larger proportion of their income on energy, the cost of which has soared.

The researchers studied the impact of inflation on death rates in Scotland in 2022-3, with and without mitigating measures such as government support to help cut household bills.

The collected data was then used to model various potential future outcomes on life expectancy and inequalities for the UK as a whole if different mitigating policies were implemented.

Without any mitigation, the model found that inflation could increase deaths by five percent in the least deprived areas and by 23 percent in the most deprived — coming down to two percent and eight percent with mitigation, with an overall rate of around 6.5 percent.

Overall life expectancy would also fall in each case, it added.

“Our analysis contributes to evidence that the economy matters for population health,” said the researchers.

“The mortality impacts of inflation and real-terms income reduction are likely to be large and negative, with marked inequalities in how these are experienced.

“Implemented public policy responses are not sufficient to protect health and prevent widening inequalities,” they added.

UK inflation unexpectedly slowed in August to 6.7 percent from a high of 11.1 percent, but remains the highest in the G7, fueled by coronavirus lockdowns, Brexit and the war in Ukraine.

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