Iran imports 90 percent of raw materials for medicine from India and China

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jul. 9/ Trend, F. Karimov/

Iran imports 90 percent of raw materials used in producing medicine from India and China, the Fars News Agency quoted Iran's Food and Drug Organization deputy director Shams-Ali Rezazadeh as saying.

Considering cheap raw material prices in East Asian countries, we have planned to import raw materials for medicine from India and China, he noted. But, no medicine is currently being imported from China, he added.

We apply strict regulations for importing medicine from foreign countries. We have given permission to India and South Korea, for example. Medicine samples should be approved by the Food and Drug Organization, he said.

On July 1, Rezazadeh said that Iran increased the prices of domestically produced drugs by 40 per cent as the exchange rate of foreign currency which is used to import raw materials increased.

He added that prices of foreign made drugs which are being imported have been increased by 90 per cent.

The government used to allocate the U.S. dollar at the official exchange rate of 12,260 rials for the importation of drugs, but has announced it will no longer do so at this rate and has increased the rate to about 24,000 rials.

The Iranian people pay 80 per cent of medical costs out of their own pocket, the Mehr News Agency quoted Tehran medical council member Iraj Khosronia as saying.

The figure is projected to be 25-30 per cent by 2015, he added.

Unfortunately, low quality pharmaceutical raw materials are being imported from China and India, he noted.

The administration of president-elect Mr. Rohani should pay special attention to the issue of medical treatment costs, he stressed.

In April, the Mehr News Agency reported that some 10 per cent of Iranians are unable to pay medical treatment costs for hard to cure diseases and such costs have left them destitute.

Due to western sanctions, only a handful of international banks are willing to transfer currencies on behalf of Iran to purchase medicine which is leading to a shortage of imported drugs, Rasoul Khazari, a member of the Iranian parliament's health committee, said in November.

The U.S. and EU have placed restrictions on dealings with Iran's Central Bank which is the only official channel for Iranians to transfer money abroad and Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, has cut Iran's banks out of its system.

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