An Iranian customs official has confirmed that 330 tons of medical drugs are sitting at customs at the Imam Khomeini Airport, virtually held in limbo.
Mohareza Naderi, the technical deputy at the Iran Customs office, told ISNA that currently the medical drugs are being held at customs because importers have not been able to pay the difference between the government-subsidized exchange rate for the dollar and the market rate for the dollar.
The Central Bank is now demanding that importers pay the difference between the subsidized dollar at 12,260 rials and its market value at 24,770 rials in order to get customs clearance.
Prior to this, medical drugs were being given the subsidized dollar rate by the government in order to keep the price of medication down. The policy was dropped by the Central Bank when international sanctions were intensified and inflation kept rising.
Naderi said his agency has recommended allowing importers to clear half of the drugs and sell them in the market in order to acquire the means to pay for the other half. He added that customs officials are prepared to allow the clearance upon a request from the Ministry of Health, but so far they have received no requests.
The head of the Drug Importers Syndicate has criticized the Central Bank, stating that it has failed to cooperate with businesses that do not have the assets to clear the drugs from customs, and every day the medications are getting closer to their expiry dates.