Sanctions cause epilepsy medication shortage

The US Treasury says the renewed economic punitive measures do not impede humanitarian aid for Iran but with less and less European banks willing to accept financial transactions with Iran, food, medicine and medical equipment imports have been disturbed.

Shafagh Zarghami

2 January 2019
ID : 1742
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Iranian Epilepsy Association says the renewed US sanctions have caused shortage of some medication to treat the patients.

“Some of the patients suffer from epilepsy that is resistant to treatment and must consume new foreign medicine but unfortunately the sanctions have caused shortage in such drugs,” regretted Darius Nasabi Tehrani, Iranian Epilepsy Association Chief Executive, according to Iran's semi-official Mehr News Agency. 

“Currently there’s huge shortage in various medicine used by epilepsy patients,” added Tehrani, a neurosurgeon himself.

He also said that some Iranian pharmaceutical companies that produce good quality medicine for this disease are “facing shortage of their raw material”.

Some well-off patients have saved the medicine they need for a year, according to the doctor who warned that “those low-earning patients have had to spare some medicine and that has negatively affected their health.”

It’s estimated that there more than one million people in Iran suffer from epilepsy. In case the patients don’t receive medication at the right time, it leads to convulsive seizures that “puts patients' lives at risk in certain jobs.”

More than 60% of Iran’s imports from Switzerland are medicine and medical equipment. In an interview with Iran Chamber Newsroom, Sharif Nezam-Mafi confirmed shortages for certain patients following the renewal of US sanctions on Iran.

Swiss authorities are now trying to create a payment channel with Iran to allow undisrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Iran. Nezam-Mafi says it could be in place by mid-January.

Watch video: Sharif Nezam-Mafi talks Swiss payment channel, humanitarian aid 

Tehran has been looking towards Brazil and India to import its much-needed medicine following the restoration of US sanctions that took effect 5 Novemebre. 

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