In a meeting with Pakistani PM’s Special Assistant on Social Welfare, Sania Nishtar, in Islamabad, Iranian Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Education Baqer Larijani said Iran and Pakistan should evaluate their capabilities to share experiences in area of health, radio.gov.pk reported.
Larijani, who headed an Iranian delegation to Pakistan on Friday, cited student exchange program between the two countries as one area for such collaboration.
“We can also cooperate with Pakistan in the medicine sector, as 97 percent of medications used by people in Iran are manufactured within the country,” noted Larijani, IRNA reported.
Official reports say Iran produces some 95% of basic medicines it needs and even exports some of its production to neighboring countries.
But when it comes to more sophisticated medicines for costly and rare illnesses and medical equipment, Iran depends heavily on imports.
Some Iranian patients suffering from certain illnesses have been struggling with a foreign medicine shortage and price hikes for over a year now, both due to reimposed US trade sanctions after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year, as well as American restrictions as part of a stated campaign of "maximum pressure" against the Islamic Republic.
During the meeting, the Pakistani official expressed her country’s satisfaction with bilateral ties.
Nishtar hailed Iran’s health care system, adding, "We should learn from that".
She also noted that despite being under tough sanctions, Iran has been providing modern and excellent health care.
The official briefed the visiting Iranian delegation on the workings of Pakistan’s Benazir Income Support Program and Ministry of Poverty Alleviation.
She said the government under “Ehsas” program was trying to help people in need, adding that there were different programs targeting the poor.
Nishtar further stated that Iran could cooperate in Pakistan’s ‘Ehsas’ program.