The Iranian pharmaceutical industry is the latest of several industries to experience significant reform. Morteza Azarnoosh, Iran's Deputy Minister of Health for foodstuffs and drugs recently conveyed that international pharmaceutical companies may enter the Iranian market, as long as they operate in accordance with the local laws.
Although Iran has been working with foreign pharmaceutical companies for some time, the Deputy Minister advocated the need for new regulations permitting joint ventures with foreign companies. Nonetheless, medicine production in cooperation with foreigners is already underway, Payvand News reported.
Currently, 750 varieties of medicines are manufactured in the Islamic Republic, with new drugs entering from abroad on a regular basis. These imported medicines were mainly brought in by state-run corporations; experts contend that the private firms must engage in importing.
The bulk of the imported medicines originated in France, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. Iranian export of pharmaceuticals has been slowing, due to the large rate of domestic consumption.
"Right now, 96.5 percent of the country's needed medicines are produced domestically against 25 percent before the Islamic Revolution," he relayed. According to Azarnoosh, a bill is under review in the Parliament, which will allow drug-manufacturing units to increase production.
"This year, $50 million of the exchange allocated for pharmaceuticals will be spent on the manufacture of special drugs which we hope to increase $60 million in the near future," he disclosed.
Addressing the issue of pharmaceutical quality at the domestic level, Azarnoosh remarked, "We are trying to import the raw material for local factories in order to further raise the quality of our domestically manufactured medicines." — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )