A senior official in Iran says shortages of medications will reach an alarming level in the upcoming months if foreign currency is not provided for imports.
The director-general of Drugs and Controlled Substances Department of Iran’s Health Ministry, Heidar Mohammadi, said on Saturday that about 200 essential medicines and pharmaceutical products would not be available in Iran in the next three months.
Noting that the number of unavailble drugs is about 40 at the moment, he warned that, unless the government provides cheap dollars, the list of unavailable drugs would hit 400 to 500 in the near future.
The administration of President Ebrahim Raisi has moved to eliminate cheap dollars for imports of essential goods as the impact of the US sanctions are crippling the Islamic Republic’s economy.
Just before the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA) in May 2018, the former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani decided to offer dollars at 42,000 rials for essential imports to keep food and medicine cheap. However, the subsidized dollars did little to keep prices low, simply due to the corruption ingrained in Iran’s supply chain. There are numerous cases of companies applying to receive the cheap dollars to import essential commodities but pocketed huge profits by importing luxury goods, such as thousands of foreign cars.