Iran faces possible health-care crisis
Washington Post / Jason Rezaian

Rasoul Khezri, a member of parliament’s health committee, said that according to the health ministry’s standards, “we should always have a surplus of medicine for the next six month. But our reports indicate the medicines in reserve are only sufficient for the next two months.”

Iran’s minister of health, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, explained in a recent nationally televised interview that authorities have begun to import supplies of vital medicines by commercial flight because they cannot wait for the usual cargo-ship deliveries. Of the $2.5 billion called for in Iran’s annual budget to import medicine and medical supplies, she said, only $600 million had been delivered by Iran’s central bank this year.

The problem has been compounded by a collapse in the value of Iran’s currency, the rial, meaning that the cost of medicine and other imported supplies has risen dramatically.

The chiefs of Iran’s medical schools recently wrote a letter to the government in which they complained of a 350 percent increase in the price of medical equipment, delays to essential medical projects and overdue payments to insurance companies.

Ordinary citizens, too, have expressed frustration with their government.

Zohreh, a 60-year-old housewife, said the price for her daughter’s epilepsy drug has doubled in the past three months. “When I ask why they have raised the price, they say we have a shortage of the medicine,” sh... >>>

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