Iranian Lawmaker Warns Of 'Severe Shortage' Of Crucial Drugs
By RFE/RL's Radio Farda July 08, 2022
An Iranian parliament member says the shortage of drugs in the country has reached a critical stage and that Iran's pharmaceutical industry is on the verge of collapse.
Abdul Hossein Rohalmini said on July 6 that the 13 Aban Pharmacy, the biggest drug distributor in Iran, currently has a shortage of 356 pharmaceutical drugs. He said that if this trend continues the country will face a "severe shortage" of medicines.
In March, the parliament voted in favor of cutting subsidies for drugs. State media reported the cash-strapped Iranian government would save some $9 billion annually by reducing drug subsidies.
Although domestic manufacturers supply most of Iran's drugs, much of the raw materials needed for the medicines is imported. Iran also is dependent on imports for most of the drugs needed to treat life-threatening ailments such as cancer and coronary disease.
In late June, Iran's Syndicate of Pharmaceutical Industries warned President Ebrahim Raisi of a critical situation in which pharmaceutical drug production lines could break down starting in July.
Rohalmini also criticized the current health minister, Iraj Harirchi, and previous ones, saying that they should be tried for crimes for failing to "implement general health policies."
The Iranian economy has been devastated by years of harsh economic sanctions imposed by the United States after Washington withdrew from an accord Iran signed with five world powers aimed at curbing Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
The poor economic situation has led hundreds of thousands of people to protest in recent months. Many of the demonstrations have been met by crackdowns from security forces.
With writing and reporting by Ardeshir Tayebi
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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