Marzieh Dastjerdi

Former Iranian Health Minister Marzieh Dastjerdi has warned that the surging increase in the price of medical drugs will soon surpass 100 percent unless the government provides subsidized foreign currency for its purchase.

Dastjerdi urged Parliament to overturn the government’s decision to scrap subsidies on medical drug imports, ISNA reports.

Last week the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade confirmed that medical drug imports will not receive subsidized dollars. The government had been providing subsidized foreign currencies to a number of necessary imports in order to control their price in the market at a time when the devalued national currency has triggered steep inflation.

Iran’s medical drugs and equipment market had already been restricted following the intensification of international sanctions on the country’s financial sector, which has made it impossible for businesses to carry out transactions with foreign financial institutions.

Dastjerdi, the only female in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration, previously was removed from her position when she fell out of favour with the president by criticizing the government’s handling of imports.

Dastjerdi claimed Iranians were supposed to only pay 30 percent of their health costs according to the fifth plan of development, but instead they are currently paying between 65 and 70 percent of it, and scrapping subsidies will burden them with “over 90 percent” of their health costs.

Reports indicate that the Iranian medical drug market is already facing a shortage of special medications for Thalassemia and hemophilia as well as cancer drugs and anesthetics.