The Islamic Republic’s authorities have destroyed large amounts of imported medical products without undergoing legal procedures despite dire shortages across Iran.

While there are numerous reports about shortages of medicines and medical products, including basic drugs and IV fluids in recent months, the country’s health ministry has destroyed a huge amount of the imported supplies without the required examination by relevant organizations, said Saheb Hojjati, the head of the Iranian organization in charge of confiscated goods. 

Large amounts of IV fluids were destroyed earlier this year while the country was suffering from severe shortages, he underlined.

Hojjati added that according to law, the Health Ministry and the Standards Organization must test the drugs and their expiration dates to see if they are safe to be used and announce the results in written documents to the Organization for Collection and Sale of State-owned Properties of Iran (OCSSPI), but this procedure is not being followed at the moment. The OCSSPI is affiliated to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, with its main purpose being the collection, storage, management and sale of properties that by law are under the ownership, possession, custody or management of the government. 

Hojjati added that if the process is accelerated, the OCSSPI can sell the products in the market to the highest bidders. “This is while we are in an economic war situation and all organizations and institutions should help the government and people,” he noted.

Saheb Hojjati, the head of the Organization for Collection and Sale of State-owned Properties of Iran

According to Hojjati, over 7.8 trillion rials (about $26 million) worth of products, including basic medical and food items such as vegetable oil, sugar and rice, have been destroyed in the last seven months. The Islamic Republic has been claiming that United States sanctions prevent procurement of medicines, while Washington insists that humanitarian aid is exempt from sanctions. Iran has been importing more than $1.5 billion of medicines a year.

The Islamic Republic has been claiming that United States sanctions prevent procurement of medicines, while Washington insists that humanitarian aid is exempt from sanctions. Iran has been importing more than $1.5 billion of medicines a year.

Considering the incessant bemoaning by the Islamic Republic’s officials about the effect of US sanctions on shortages of medicine in the country, not only does the move seem the result of a cumbersome bureaucratic process, but it also strengthens speculations that the government is pleased with psychological effects of the shortages on foreign audiences. 

However, as per the US sanctions, the Islamic Republic is legally allowed to import medicine, agricultural commodities, and medical products. According to a mandate by the US Department of Treasury, it is not necessary to acquire any permit for selling agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iranian buyers.

In September, an Iranian lawmaker warned about the failure of the government’s Medicine Assistance Plan to make prices affordable amid high inflation and rising poverty. “Patients, particularly those with rare diseases, have been facing problems since the removal of medicine import subsidies,” Mohammad-Taghi Naghdali, a member of the parliament's judicial and legal committee, said, adding that lawmakers have warned that without allocation of cheap foreign currency to pharmaceutical imports the government's Medicine Assistance Plan is bound to fail.

President Ebrahim Raisi announced in early May that his government had begun the process of removing up to $15 billion import subsidies for basic foods, medicine, and animal feed despite warnings of more inflation and hardship. Raisi also said the government would be paying cash assistance to most Iranians as compensation.

The removal of import subsidies meant that manufacturers would no longer receive cheap dollars from the government to import raw materials to produce medicine.

G4 Protest Special - Evening (12\')
News (44\')
Sports News

Share your story

Send your Videos and Photos to us