A young man said to be suffering from a rare disease attends the

Fourth Iranian Congress on Rare Diseases. Tehran now says that

Western-imposed sanctions are so severe, that it cannot afford the

medications he and other Iranian patients need.



U.S.-Led Sanctions Hurt Patients with Rare Diseases (Kayhan, Islamic Republic of Iran)


While insisting on a daily basis that Iran is ably weathering sanctions that have been imposed by much of the rest of the world, this news item on a lack of medications for rare diseases shows just how painful the sanctions actually are. According to this article from Iran's state-controlled Kayhan, which quotes state-run Press TV, while humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions allow for the purchase of medicines, the crackdown on Iran's banking system means the country cannot afford them.


March 3, 2013


Islamic Republic of Iran - Kayhan - Home Page (English)

TEHRAN: A shortage of medication resulting from illegal U.S.-engineered sanctions have left Iranian patients suffering rare diseases in dire straits. Because of the sanctions imposed by America and its allies, certain medicines are no longer imported into the country, thus endangering patients' lives.


“My son has had a disease called Cystinosis since he was four months old. It is a genetically-inherited malady. He has to go to have kidney dialysis three times a week. Now his kidneys are failing and he needs a transplant. His kidney failure has caused his bones to start to grow crookedly,” one Iranian citizen told Press TV.


Another negative impact of unilateral U.S. sanctions is that medicines that can be imported into the country are extremely expensive.


“Both of my sons have Type II MPS (Mucopolysaccharidosis). We learned of the disease about three years ago. My sons each must have two shots of medicine a week for the rest of their lives. In 2010, the price was $5,800 per shot. I just can't afford it,” another Iranian said.


Meanwhile, the 4th International Congress on the Occassion of Rare Diseases Day has just been held in the Iranian capital city, Tehran.


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“The foremost goal of this Congress is to assist patients. People with rare diseases are considered to be in critical need. Our aim is to ensure we are up to date on all types of rare diseases and how to treat them,” Ali Davoudian, director of the Iranian Congress on Rare Diseases, told Press TV.


Although the U.S.-engineered sanctions do not directly target medicines, importing these items from abroad has become almost impossible as a result of the restrictions on the banking system, which is unable to transfer the needed currency.


“The sanctions that have been forced on us have hurt many people in need of medicine. Some have lost their lives,” Davoudian pointed out.


Imports from American and European drug makers in 2012 was down by an estimated 30 percent since 2011, and they continue to fall.


Even if in theory, sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union are supposed to allow humanitarian trade, in fact it impairs the delivery of drugs and medical equipment to Iran.  


To facilitate humanitarian trade, there is a blanket waiver on sanctions in this area, but other laws the restrict financial transactions make it impossible to implement these exceptions. So while trade in medical supplies is legal in theory, it is virtually impossible in practice, because Iran cannot afford the Western medicines it needs.


One problem is that when sanctions were tightened in 2012, Iran’s capacity to sell oil was further constrained and its main source of hard currency restricted. Another problem is that Iran’s main banking infrastructure - including the Central Bank of Iran and Bank Tejarat, Iran’s main trading bank, have been blacklisted by Washington.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Mar. 3, 2013, 8:49am