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Iran May Import India Drugs Amid Shortage, Sanctions: Pharmabiz

Iran’s Health Ministry is seeking to import medicines from neighboring India as financial sanctions against the country restrict its access to them elsewhere, Pharmabiz reported, citing unidentified sources.

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 portal on India’s pharmaceutical industry published yesterday.

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

Due to western-led sanctions, 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 percent due to the decline in the value of Iran’s national currency, Hossein-Ali Shahriari, the health committee’s head, said Nov. 10. The rial has dropped as much as 40 percent against the dollar since August, as tighter U.S. and European sanctions curb Iran’s oil exports and access to hard currencies.

The complications prompted 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.

Iran is under financial, trade and energy sanctions over its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies say may include the development of atomic weapons. Iran rejects the accusation and says its program is designed to secure energy for a growing population and for medical research.

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