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[e-drug] Effect of sanctions on access to medicine in Iran (3)

E-DRUG: Effect of sanctions on access to medicine in Iran (3)
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[E-Drug received this post in response to the request on the effects of 
sanctions in Iran. It contains what could be construed as political viewpoints. 
In this situation it is difficult to separate the politics from the technical 
and it was decided to approve it in its entirety without any editing; this 
should not be taken to mean that E-Drug endorses any particular political 
viewpoint or necessarily agrees with the comments made. Moderator]

Iran in recent decades faced several regional and international sanctions in
order to stop its always declared peaceful nature of nuclear activities.
UNSC between 2006 and 2011 passed several resolutions to restrict
economical activities of Iran. In addition USA and EU had also imposed
restrictions on cooperation with Iran. Since then Iran pharmaceutical
market has faced profound difficulties for importing of both finished
products and Pharmaceutical Active Ingredients (API) which has caused
substantial price increase and shortage of the medicines in Iran. Although
medicines are always exempted from sanctions local pharmaceutical companies
are finding it extremely difficult to import medicines or API.

In order to improve availability of plasma derived medicines since 2005
Iran has successfully implemented a contract fractionation program for
plasma produced in its national transfusion service. The essential
medicines received under this contract fractionation program account for
100% of immunoglobulins and the clotting factor IX used in Iran, as well as
15% of the clotting factor VIII, and 40% of the albumin. However,
unfortunately in past two years economical restrictions imposed by USA and
EU on Iran banking system and flow of the money has pushed Iran national
contract fractionation program to the verge of total collapse. These
restrictions on importation of produced medicines into Iran have also
created a dreadful condition for patients in need of such medicines for
their survival including hemophilia and patients with immune deficiency
disorders. Although establishment of a contingency plan might enable Iran
to continue its contribution for providing life saving essential medicines
for these patients, continued pressures and restrictions by EU on Iran
health sector might get its toll in near future.

Although it is claimed that sanctions aimed political leadership of Iran,
unfortunately sanctions hurt large number of people and caused civilian
hardship. Sanctions could devastate countries’ economical infrastructure in
different sections and most notably in health care sector. Sanctions
through complications in transportation, difficulty in transferring hard
currencies or either lack of capital commonly lead to disruption of health
services and even basic nutrition of the ordinary civilians particularly
among the vulnerable groups including mothers, children and patients with
chronic disease.

There are now convincing evidences that the record of sanctions in
achieving their stated objectives is very low. Instead ordinary people who
live in sanctioned countries have to bear costs attributed to the sanction.
Results of observations from current situation in Iran pharmaceutical
market confirm that the sanctions against Iran are affecting ordinary
citizens and the claim that these sanctions are targeted against government
officials is mere politicking. This is obvious that EU sanctions against
Iran has caused increasing pain and suffering for Iranian patients due to
lack of timely access to the life saving and essential medicines.

Professor Majid Cheraghali
Iran Blood Transfusion Organization
Tehran- Iran
Fax: (9821) 88601580
Tel: (9821) 88601582
cheraghali@ibto.ir

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