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Iran: Medicene supplies hit by sanctions.
Monday January 14, 2013 12:56 by Atash
Iran is rapidly running out of vital medical supplies due to sanctions and an unavailability of foreign currency to buy supplies. The sanctions levied against Iranian banks, which are effectively cut off from the global financial system, have made it nigh impossible for Iranian companies to finance imports of whole drugs or raw ingredients, analysts say.
"There is not a proper channel through which they can pay, unless they send somebody to Pfizer with a suitcase full of cash," says Muhammad Sahimi, an Iranian political analyst and engineering professor at the University of Southern California.
Sanctions against Iran's oil industry have left the country short on foreign currency reserves. This week a prominent Iranian parliamentarian said oil revenues had declined 45% in the last nine months. Iran's currency, the Rial, is also believed to have lost 80% of its value against the dollar since the beginning of 2012, making imports prohibitively expensive.
"The sanctions have accentuated the already existing bad situation that was due to corruption and mismanagement," says Sahimi.
Last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sacked Health Minister Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the only woman minister in the Cabinet. That step came a month after she angered the government by complaining publicly that foreign currency reserves were being spent on luxury items rather than on medicine.
But let us remember that Sanctions are War by other means. They are meant to soften up Iran in preparation for a Military Attack. The US and other Imperialkist countries couldn't care less that the Sanctions affect ordinary people, if they did then they would authorise a centralised system to aLLOW medical imports.
Here are some more views on the crisis:
Iranian-Americans Send Medicine Home as Sanctions Hit Drug Supplies
Sanctions Cripple Iran's Drug-Making Industry
As the Obama Administration continues to impose broader sanctions on Iran, the official focus is on how much less oil Iran is able to export. Yet the sanctions have done huge damage to civilian industry, including medicine.
With trade never all that easy for Iran since the Revolution, the nation manufactures most of its own medications. But while the US has nominally relaxed sanctions on medicine sales, the inability to pay for mass imports of completed drugs, and difficulty at importing the raw materials for the domestic plants, has caused major shortages.
Its terrifying for Iranians whose lives depend on drugs which may not be available much longer, while Iranian-Americans are doing their best to get the medicine in the US and import it directly to family back home.
Iran unable to get life-saving drugs due to international sanctions
Western measures targeting Tehran's nuclear programme have impeded trade of medicines for illnesses such as cancer
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians with serious illnesses have been put at imminent risk by the unintended consequences of international sanctions, which have led to dire shortages of life-saving medicines such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer and bloodclotting agents for haemophiliacs.
Western governments have built waivers into the sanctions regime – aimed at persuading Tehran to curb its nuclear programme – in an effort to ensure that essential medicines get through, but those waivers are not functioning, as they conflict with blanket restrictions on banking, as well as bans on "dual-use" chemicals which might have a military application.
"Sometimes companies agree to sell us drugs but we have no way of paying them. On one occasion, our money was in the bank for four months but the transfer repeatedly got rejected," Naser Naghdi, the director general of Darou Pakhsh, the country's biggest pharmaceutical company, told the Guardian, in a telephone interview from Tehran.
"There are patients for whom a medicine is the different between life and death. What is the world doing about this? Are Britain, Germany, and France thinking about what they are doing? If you have cancer and you can't find your chemotherapy drug, your death will come soon. It is as simple as that."