1250 GMT July 18, 2019
Under the present circumstances in which Iran is under unilateral US sanctions, the country is meeting a large number of its needs for medical equipment and devices as well as pharmaceuticals through domestic producers.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran in two phases.
Domestic producers are currently supplying 70 percent of the country’s need for medical equipment and devices as well as pharmaceuticals, added Majid Rouhi, the head of Iran’s Association of Medical, Dental, Laboratory and Pharmaceutical Equipment Manufacturers and Exporters (AMEDAL), in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily.
He noted that at present, Iranian producers supply 100 percent of the domestic demand for hospital beds and operating tables.
Rouhi added most of the country’s need for consumer goods in health and medical sector is met domestically, noting that, “We even have surplus production in this field.”
Domestic producers are also capable of building high tech systems, he noted.
The AMEDAL head added some operating room and surgical equipment and devices and even coronary stents are produced domestically.
“We currently face shortages in terms of manufacturing nano and imaging systems as well as X-ray and MRI machines, which are addressed through imports.”
Commenting on his association, he said, established 20 years ago, AMEDAL is the first and biggest association in the country’s health sector.
“Currently, 550 companies are operating in the domestic heath sector and 600 firms are involved in the production of pharmaceuticals in the country.”
He described as the main goals of AMEDAL maintaining production and promoting exports, adding, “We maintain that an export-oriented approach is required to be adopted toward domestic production as such an attitude – export-oriented production – can help the country and its firms survive and develop.”
He noted that the present condition of Iran’s foreign currency market can help boost the country’s exports as, given the rise in the prices of major foreign currencies, overseas sales of their products has become economical for domestic producers.
Rouhi said supplying spare parts to domestic manufacturers is among the main problems the country is faced with in the field of producing medical equipment and devices, adding allocating foreign currency resources to producers could be of assistance to them.
He recalled that in the year to March 2019, the Iranian government allocated $45 million in foreign currency to domestic producers of medical equipment and devices and pharmaceuticals.
“This came as $1 billion were allocated for imports in this sector.”
Stressing the importance of expanding production in domestic medical equipment and pharmaceutical sector and, thus, boosting exports, he called on the government to allocate more foreign currency resources to Iranian manufacturers of such products and reduce the country’s import needs.
To supply raw materials to domestic producers, a free corridor is required to be established in the Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade to prepare the ground for greater involvement of the private sector, Rouhi said.
He said in the 12-month period to March 2019, overseas sales of medical devices and equipment as well as pharmaceuticals fetched Iran $25 million, putting imports of such items in the same period at $2 billion.