Gov’t Increases Funding for Hard-to-Treat Illnesses

Gov’t Increases Funding for Hard-to-Treat Illnesses
Gov’t Increases Funding for Hard-to-Treat Illnesses

The government has allocated $84 million for the treatment of special and difficult-to-treat diseases in the current fiscal year (started March 21).  

This is the third year in a row that special funds are earmarked to help patients with hard-to-treat diseases. Last year, 2.21 trillion rials ($58 million) from the Health Ministry’s budget and one trillion rials ($26 million) from the value added tax collected were set aside for the purpose.

“The funds will be given to the treatment department of the Health Ministry to be allocated to the provinces,” said Mohammad Naeem Amini Fard, spokesman of the Majlis Health Commission, ICANA reported.

According to the official, the money will also be used to provide financial assistance to hospitals offering services to patients with special diseases.

Certain ailments are categorized under special diseases in Iran including thalassemia, hemophilia, kidney failure and MS. A group of other health conditions have been classified under diseases that are hard to treat such as cancers, hepatitis B and C, organ transplant, congenital immunodeficiency and advanced rheumatic diseases.

In the private sector, the charity Foundation for Special Diseases helps provide support for such patients.

Efforts have been made in recent years to facilitate this groups’ access to medical services.  Earlier in 2015, the High Council of Insurance proposed that certain drugs for these patients be free of charge, which was later approved by the government.

Other medicines not covered by insurance schemes were also brought under coverage.

“For hemophilic patients, for instance, the total cost of domestically produced drugs will be paid by insurances and if they prefer to use foreign products, they can still receive a sum equivalent to the cost of the Iranian drug,” Labor Minister Ali Rabiei had earlier said.

The Health Ministry is also working on programs to support hard-to-treat patients. These programs are aimed at increasing access to medical services as well as financial protection as one of the universal health coverage goals.

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