FDA Says Drug Shortages Reduced to Bare Minimum

FDA Says Drug Shortages Reduced to Bare Minimum
FDA Says Drug Shortages Reduced to Bare Minimum

Efforts to reduce the deficit of medicine in pharmacies over the past four years have been successful, according to figures cited by the head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration.

In 2013, local pharmacies lacked on average around 300 medications every month. The figure dropped to 30 in 2017.

“The 30 medications are not essential or life-saving drugs,” Rasoul Dinarvand told reporters on Wednesday, Salamat News reported.

He said the hotline 1490 has been set up for those in need of drugs that cannot be found in pharmacies. Medicine shortage reports are submitted to the FDA’s market control department and urgent import permits are issued for drugs not available or produced in the country.

“The FDA strives to meet people’s needs and drugs can be made available within four to five weeks,” Dinarvand said.

The World Health Organization has codified a list of minimum medicines needed for a basic health care system and published them as a list of essential medicines.

Essential medicines should be available under all healthcare systems at all times in adequate volumes, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality, and at prices people can afford.

Currently, about 96% of the domestic demand for medicine is met by 62 local pharmaceutical companies. Except for a few extremely rare drugs, which could be the case anywhere in the world, the domestic market is self-sufficient, officials say.

The remaining 4% of drugs for treatment of specific diseases like cancers (and are usually very expensive) are imported at an annual cost of over $450 million.   “Around 2,200 medicines are produced in the country while 690 are imported,” says Shahriar Eslami Tabar, director general for legal affairs at the FDA.

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