0104 GMT February 16, 2019
Trade in counterfeit and non-standard medicines has become a global concern, said Rasoul Dinarvand, the head of Iran’s Food and Drug Organization.
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Dinarvand said most of the spurious medicines are produced in Pakistan and Turkey.
“Such medicines pose major threat to the lives of humans across the world. Hence, Iran — in line with global efforts — wants the problem to be resolved immediately,” he said.
The official said countries have been classified on the basis of how their medicine markets are impacted by counterfeit products.
“The first group pertains to countries with strong supervision systems, wherein spurious medicines constitute one percent of the total sales. The second group includes countries, where fake medicines account for a maximum of 10 percent of sales,” he said.
Dinarvand said the third group includes countries, wherein between 10 and 30 percent of medicines are counterfeit.
“Underdeveloped nations are tagged in the fourth group, wherein up to 70 percent of medicines could be fake,” he added.
Dinarvand said up to five percent of medicines worth $150 million could be counterfeit in Iran.
He hoped the rate of counterfeit medicines would decline with international cooperation.
Noting that the lifting of sanctions can pave the way for an increase in medicine import to Iran, Dinarvand said Iran prefers to attract foreign investments rather than the products.
“Iran is acknowledged as a hub of drug production in the world so that we are determined to import the know-how for drug production to be able to export our products to various countries,” he said.
The official said certain European countries, including Denmark, have expressed readiness to invest in Iran’s medicine market once the sanctions are lifted.
“Denmark has promised to establish a factory in Iran within the next three years,” Dinarvand said, adding and an estimated 70-80 million euros will be needed for the project.
Dinarvand said Iranian knowledge-based companies produce between 30 and 40 types of recombinant medicines each year.
He added a number of these drugs will be unveiled in the coming days.
The official also pointed to some problems facing kidney transplant patients and said Iran has begun importing CellCept medicine to overcome the recent shortages.
“CellCept, which is prescribed for kidney transplant patients, has been produced in Iran for years. However, the company in charge, decided to discontinue its production and distribution due to a drop in quality last year,” Dinarvand said.
The official, however, said the production line of CellCept will restart in Iran in the next three months.
“Domestic products are much cheaper and affordable than imported ones,” he said.