96% of Essential Medicine Made Domestically

96% of Essential Medicine Made Domestically96% of Essential Medicine Made Domestically

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says almost all essential medicines are available in the Iranian pharmaceutical market. 

About 96% of the domestic demand for medicine is met by 62 local pharmaceutical companies. Each year, $250 million is earmarked for production of medications, including import of raw materials and packaging.

Except for a few extremely rare drugs, which could be the case anywhere across the world, the domestic market is self-sufficient. 

The remaining 4% of pharmaceuticals that are used for treatment of specific diseases like cancers (and are usually very expensive) are imported at a cost of over $450 million. 

“Around 2,200 different medicines are produced in the country while 690 are imported, said Shahriar Eslami Tabar, general director of legal affairs at the FDA, Borna news reported

Expenditure on imports that have equivalents in the domestic pharmaceutical sector has been reduced from $600 million in the year 2012 to $200 million in 2015, with the aim to support domestic production. 

To prevent import of medicines with domestically-produced counterparts, special council was set up in August 2015 under the auspices of the FDA. 

The council which comprises natural and legal entities including insurance organizations and medical practitioners, and experts and researchers in different fields of health economics and medicine optimization, decides on what drugs can be imported. 

Around the same time, the council, which believes “equitable access to new treatments is right of every patient”, updated the Iran Drug List on par with global advancements. 

The FDA recently urged the Majlis (parliament) to propose a bill to ban prescription of drugs not on the drug list so as to disallow physicians from prescribing drugs not covered by national insurance schemes and those that are not available easily. 

Prescription of such drugs may force people to purchase from illegal markets or unauthorized illegal websites, the local health watchdog opined. 

  Counterfeit Medicine

“No counterfeit medicines are supplied to people in drugstores and hospitals,” Rasoul Dinarvand, head of FDA, said on Sunday. 

However, the FDA has no control over medications supplied to people through online websites or those which are available in the illegal or the black market, he said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough wherewithals to fight the illegal medicine market or online sales.”

He added that steroid medicines for bodybuilding and tramadol are two harmful products that are smuggled into the country. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), annually about 200,000 people lose their lives due to consumption of counterfeit medicine. 

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