U.S. Sanctions Wrecking Iranian Medical Care
Aug. 15, 2019 (EIRNS)—Abbas Kebriaeezadeh, a professor of pharmacology at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and an official in the Iranian pharmaceutical industry, refutes the claims by U.S. officials, such as Iran special envoy Brian Hook, that U.S. sanctions on Iran are having no effect on medical care and the availability of medicines in Iran. In an article in Foreign Policy, Kebriaeezadeh reports that studies over the past decade by him and his fellow professionals in Iran show that, in fact, there has been a precipitous decline in the availability of imported medicines and the supply inputs for domestically manufactured medicines.
The collapse of the Iranian currency and the reduction of export revenues have had a destructive effect on the Iranian pharmaceutical industry by driving up costs and forcing mass layoffs of highly skilled workers.
Imports of medications into Iran from Europe have fallen 25-30% and from the U.S. by 67% as a result of banking restrictions forced by U.S. sanctions. Opportunists have taken advantage of these supply disruptions to smuggle counterfeit and low-quality medicines into Iran through routes from Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, a problem which, if it becomes worse, could result in a public health threat inside Iran.
“What may seem like sterile banking sanctions are truly much more dangerous. These sanctions disrupt the access of the Iranian public—especially the poor, the elderly, children, women, and patients suffering from chronic diseases—to the medications they require,” Kebriaeezadeh writes. “Medicines become more expensive and of worse quality. An unreliable supply chain leads to incomplete treatment of diseases and their becoming chronic.” Kebriaeezadeh insisted that the “sanctions-induced deaths” of many of his countrymen “are not a myth.”