Iran News ...


07/24/13

"There is No Medicine; Remain on the Waiting List"

By Niusha Saremi, Rooz Online

When some callers ask for medicine which is not available in drugstores, pharmacists ask them to leave their phone numbers on the waiting list. And when they ask when the medicine may be available, the response they get is “nobody knows.” Sometimes callers are asked to ask their physicians for substitutes.

Iran’s ministry of health has set up a hotline for finding rare medicine and informing patients. It is now a year since the medicine situation in the country has turned dire. Not a day passes when some disturbing report about the unavailability or overpricing of some drugs is not published. And all along, state officials continue to make unfulfilled promises.

Rooz talked about the situation to Soleiman Abbasi, a member of ninth Majlis’ health and treatment committee. He too present more promises. “We recently had a meeting with the food and medicine deputy of the ministry of health and have agreed on providing medicine to the specially needy patients. An amount has also been agreed to pay insurance companies so they expand their list of covered medicines,” he assured. But then he adds that more time must be given to them to implement the plan.

Rooz contacted a large pharmacy belonging to the Red Crescent organization for a specific medicine for the Thalassemia disease, but was told that it is not available but its Iranian substitute is. But contacting the pharmacy resulted in a negative response from the pharmacist.



Related Article: According to a just published report by Iranian daily Hamshahri, 60-70 million dollars of medicine is about to expire since the pharmacies and insurance companies have not paid their debts to the importers. (read full report - in Persian)

Just two days ago, Ahmad Ghavidel, a member of Iran’s hemophilia society, announced that there would a serious shortage of medicine for hemophilia patients. “There is serious and deep concern about the meeting the needs of hemophilia patients because as far as we know the contracts for procuring their medicine which should have been concluded months ago have not been secured,” he said. He pointed the finger of blame on the ministry of health and said, “The ministry of health has not made any plans to meet the medicine needs of people with special needs and illnesses, particularly in providing the necessary foreign exchange to import these medicines. We ask all supervisory agencies from the Majlis to the State Inspectorate to investigate this situation and the ministry’s lack of planning.”

The chairman of the board of director of the association for the support for kidney patients echoed the same message when he too said that “when kidney patients are told about the unavailability of medicine for them and realize there is nothing we can do, they breakdown into tears.”

Such news becomes more aggravating when one learns that there are some 20,000 kidney patients in Iran who will lose their life if they are not attended to and their medicinal needs are not met.

When we asked Abbasi about the repeated unfulfilled promises of authorities in this regard, he simply said, “We raise these questions with government officials but possibly this time we shall get results.” “It is true that we have a medicine shortage and we have sanctions. We acknowledge the problems. They too are doing what they can to alleviate the problem. And we shall ask drugstores too to inform the ministry of health about their issues.”

Those in positions of authority continue to make promises, just as patients continue to make calls in their search for their medical needs.

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