Iran plans to establish its first special economic zone for the production of high-tech medicines for refractory diseases, an Iranian official says, Press TV reported.
"Recently, [a plan] for the establishment of a special economic zone dubbed 'Barekat (Blessing)' for the production of high-tech medicines for patients with refractory diseases, including cancer, has been passed by the Center for Free and Special Economic Zones (CFSEZ)," Ja'far Ahangaran, CFSEZ's director for special zones affairs, said in a Monday interview.
The proposal should now go to the Majlis for final approval, he said, adding that the special zone will be situated near the Iranian capital city of Tehran.
"By establishing this zone, customs restrictions and duties for imports of raw materials and machinery will be lifted," Ahangaran noted.
Although Iran is mainly self-sufficient in the production of its required medicines, nearly 80 percent of the foreign currency allocated for imports of some drugs is currently spent for the purchase of a few high-tech medical items, the official said.
Iran has made significant achievements in the health sector in recent years despite unilateral sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear energy program.
According to 2014 statistics released by several international scientific centers, Iran ranks 18th in terms of scientific production in medicine in the world.
In April, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a directive to the heads of Iran's Executive, Judiciary and Legislative branches and the Expediency Council, calling for efforts to turn the country into a medical hub in the Muslim world and Southwest Asia.
The Leader called for adopting state-of-the-art medical and health plans, reducing the threats to public wellbeing and promoting the health standards.
The outlined policies also include the allocation of subsidies to the health sector and providing special financial aid to the needy.