x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sanctions force Iran to consider Indian drugs

Iran's health ministry is seeking to import medicines from India as financial sanctions against the country restrict its access to them elsewhere, according to media reports.

Iran's health ministry is seeking to import medicines from India as financial sanctions against the country restrict its access to them elsewhere, according to media reports.

Iranian ministry officials are keen to import some 28 types of medications including capsules, solutions and injectable drugs from Indian suppliers, according to a report by the Mumbai-based Pharmabiz.

Possible deals would follow a trip last month by a 26-member Indian delegation to Tehran, aimed at exploring opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector.

Because of western-led sanctions against the country, 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. He called on authorities to act to prevent a crisis.

Costs of medical equipment have also soared, rising an average of 245 per cent from the decline in the value of Iran's national currency, said Hossein Ali Shahriari, the leader of the Iranian health committee.

The rial has dropped as much as 40 per cent against the dollar since August, as tighter US and European sanctions curb Iran's oil exports and access to hard currencies.

The complications prompted the health minister, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, to warn last year that an increase in the price of certain medicines was "inevitable" unless the government provided assistance. She was fired last week.