Pharmacies Taken Over by Non-Professionals

A growing number of licensed pharmacists are leasing their permits out to investors.A growing number of licensed pharmacists are leasing their permits out to investors.

The head of the Iranian Association of Pharmacists has voiced concerns about the management of pharmacies by non-professionals, describing it as a crime.

A growing number of licensed pharmacists who have obtained permits to launch their own drugstores are leasing their permits out to investors, who fill up the pharmacies with people who have limited expertise in the area.

“These business-people then begin to run chain pharmacies, a practice that is against the law,” Rahbar Mojdehi Azar was quoted by ILNA as saying.

“Non-specialists have been taking charge of multiple pharmacies and opening chain drugstores for years, even though it is illegal,” he said.

Azar said leasing permits is against the law and pharmacists doing so must be prosecuted, although he conceded that it is easier said than done due to scarcity of evidence.

He added that solutions have been proposed and the Food and Drug Administration has taken measures to address the issue but they have not been sufficient.

Azar also complained that the development of chain pharmacies is not ideal for pharmacists because it means “they are employed and exploited by capitalists.”

“Experience in Iran shows that non-experts taking control of a business in the health sector are willing to do anything to line their pockets,” he said, adding that this is to the detriment of the public.

Azar accused relevant authorities of indifference toward the problem, emphasizing that lack of action will eventually erode the public’s trust of pharmacists.

The lucrative pharmaceutical sector has understandably attracted a lot of attention from business people who have very little expertise in the field. About 105 trillion rials ($2.8 billion) worth of pharmaceuticals were produced (and consumed) and 38 trillion rials ($1.01 billion) were imported (and consumed) in the last Iranian year (ended March 20).

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