Drug shortage reaches new heights as government halts subsidies

A senior Iranian official said drug shortages would reach alarming levels in the coming months if foreign exchange is not provided for imports.

The director general of the Department of Drugs and Controlled Substances of the Iranian Ministry of Health, Heidar Mohammadi, said on Saturday that around 200 essential drugs and pharmaceuticals would not be available in Iran over the next three months.
Noting that the number of drugs not available is around 40 at the moment, he warned that unless the government provided cheap dollars, the list of drugs not available would reach 400 to 500 in the near future.
The administration of President Ebrahim Raisi has decided to eliminate cheap dollars for imports of essential goods, as the impact of US sanctions cripples the economy of the Islamic Republic.
Just before the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA) in May 2018, former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decided to offer $ 42,000 rials for essential imports to maintain food. and cheap drugs. However, the subsidized dollars have done little to keep prices low, simply because of the corruption ingrained in Iran’s supply chain. There are many cases of companies asking to receive the cheap dollars to import basic necessities, but have made huge profits by importing luxury goods, such as thousands of foreign cars.

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