The decision was made to tackle currency market distortions and prevent the smuggling of subsidized drugs out of the country. However, health officials say that they have only received between one-third and one-tenth of what they have asked for to fulfill the country’s medical needs. The preferred currency, which had been allocated to domestic drug production and accounted for 97% of the country’s needs, has now been redirected toward the import of drugs.
Experts warn that this move could have serious consequences for Iranian citizens, who are already struggling with high inflation and economic hardship. In 2020, many consumers reported a five-fold increase in the price of medicines such as acetaminophen.
Mehdi Pirsalehi, the former head of the Food and Drug Organization and a member of the board of directors of the Syndicate of the Owners of Human Pharmaceutical Industries of Iran, stated that if the government does not find a solution to continue supporting the pharmaceutical industry without the preferred currency, it will undoubtedly result in higher medicine prices and harm consumers.
The regime’s decision to remove these subsidies means that pharmaceutical companies will now have to purchase foreign currency at market rates much higher than the preferential rates previously offered by the regime.
This will result in higher production costs for pharmaceutical companies, which may be passed on to consumers in the form of higher drug prices. Moreover, This could lead to shortages of essential medicines and medical supplies, further exacerbating Iran’s already dire public health situation. The issue has become even more sensitive due to the weakness of insurance coverage and the fact that around 6 to 9 million people lack any form of insurance.
According to Hossein Ali Shahriari, the head of the health and treatment commission of the regime’s parliament, the government has been granted the authority to decide on the currency of medicine through a legal resolution. The only condition set by the parliament is that the prices of medicine and medical equipment for people and patients should remain unchanged in comparison to September 2020.
Overall, the regime’s decision to remove preferential currency rates for the pharmaceutical industry is risky and could have serious consequences for the people of Iran. It remains to be seen how the government will address this issue and ensure that Iranians have access to affordable and essential medicines.
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