Following the May 2018 decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and six other nations in 2015, the Trump administration unilaterally reinstated sanctions on Iran. The administration has stated that trade in humanitarian items like life-saving medications should remain unaffected. However, because there are no clear guidelines for pharmaceutical companies doing business in Iran, importation of medications manufactured abroad has been frozen for months and severe medicine shortages loom.
In addition, the absence of reliable financial institutions due to re-imposition of harsh banking restrictions and fear of secondary sanctions makes it impossible for multinational pharmaceutical companies to operate in Iran. “It creates a problem where even when you have a European company that wants to sell to Iran … payments can’t regularly and reliably be made into Europe,” Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, an expert in humanitarian trade, told The New York Times.
While Iran waits for more avenues to conduct banking for humanitarian items, patients are stockpiling medications, skipping doses, or finding more readily available alternatives that sometimes are less effective or have greater side effects than drugs that are now in short supply.
Source: The New York Times, November 11, 2018.