Azerbaijan, Baku, May.11/ Trend F.Karimov/
Some 20,000 Iranians suffer from thalassemia, the Fars News Agency quoted the head of the association of thalassemia in Khorasan Razavi province Ali Qasemi as saying.
Ali Qasemi added that the Iranian government spends about 200 million rials (some $16,000) for each thalassemia patient in the country per year.
Some 10 percent of Iranian people are unable to pay medical treatment costs for hard-to-cure diseases and such costs have left them destitute, the Mehr News Agency said.
In recent years, the number of families who have gone below the poverty line has increased.
Due to western-led 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.
On January 15, IRNA quoted Iranian deputy health minister, Mostafa Qanei, as saying that Iran annually exports pharmaceuticals worth $580 million, ranking 53rd in the world in this regard.
About 90 percent of needed medicine can be produced domestically, he said, adding that nearly 30 biological drugs are produced in the country.