‘Food comes first’, says Iran’s FDA director

November 4, 2017

TEHRAN — Iran’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assigns a high priority to food rather than drugs, said the newly appointed director of Food and Drug Administration.

“It is essential to prioritize food over drug and change our diet thereby preventing diseases,” Gholamreza Asghari told the Tehran Times. 

“Cultivating high quality raw material for the food industry and enriching rice, potato and wheat with iron and zinc is what we have demanded from Agriculture Ministry,” Asghari added. 

“If the food we provide is rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) we can ensure the public health,” he noted. 

“Producing large quantities of food stuff does not necessarily mean the food is of high quality, instead of focusing on cultivating vast quantities we need not enhance the quality,” he highlighted. 

Producing healthy cooking oil is also on agenda, Asghari said, adding, “We have also asked the administration to pay subsidies for dairy products and meat by increasing sugar and oil prices which will certainly benefit the public health.”

Teaching students healthy eating habits from elementary school can play a key role in having healthier generation, the FDA director suggested.  

“Changing the diet would be much more efficient than equipping the hospitals for the patients,” he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks Asghari said that it is more important to encourage rational use of drugs than to produce or import new drugs to the country. “We are planning on carrying out a new scheme for promoting responsible use of medicines.” 

Irrational use of medicines is a major problem worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than half of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately, and that half of all patients fail to take them correctly. The overuse, underuse or misuse of medicines results in wastage of scarce resources and widespread health hazards. 

Examples of irrational use of medicines include: use of too many medicines per patient inappropriate use of antimicrobials, often in inadequate dosage, for non-bacterial infections; over-use of injections when oral formulations would be more appropriate; failure to prescribe in accordance with clinical guidelines; inappropriate self-medication, often of prescription-only medicines; and non-adherence to dosing regimes.

MQ/MG

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