Iran hands over essential medicines worth $1.8m to Sri Lanka

May 8, 2023 - 16:54

TEHRAN - The Iranian embassy in Sri Lanka has handed over a grant of essential medicines worth $1.8 million, including cancer drugs.

“H.E. Hashem Ashjazedah expressed Iran’s friendship with this gift as a statement of solidarity in this difficult time,” says Sri Lankan Health Minister Kehelaiya Rambukwella, expressing his gratitude for the grant.

Iran expects to increase the exports of medicine to around $200 million in the current year that started on March 21, from some $60 million last year.

“The increase in drug production is supported by stable supply for exports, and our forecast for exports in the current year is $200 million,” IRNA quoted Heidar Mohammadi, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, as saying.

Currently, the production of medicine, medical equipment, and powdered milk is supported by subsidies. So, their exports were very limited, but it is hoped that their exports will increase next year, he explained.

Referring to the shortage of 100 drug items in the country, he said: “Currently, nearly one and a half percent of the country's pharmaceutical need is imported. Along with domestic production, it is done as soon as the domestic production meets the demand.”

According to Food and Drug Administration, some $60 million worth of medicine was exported in the calendar year 1400 (March 2021-March 2022).

The figure was about $180 million in the year 1397 (March 2018-March 2019). The country imports some $1 billion of drugs per year.

A total of 227 knowledge-based firms are supplying medical equipment for health centers across the country, according to the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology.

Iranian-made pharmaceuticals are currently exported to Canada, Japan, and Europe, Faramarz Ekhteraei, chairman of the Iranian Pharmaceutical Industries Syndicate said, emphasizing that 72 percent of the country's pharmaceutical raw materials are domestically produced.

Some 40 percent of the country's total pharmaceutical exports are biotechnology products, a member of the board of directors of the Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Medical Biotechnology Products said.

Iran’s biotechnology products are exported to European, Asian, and Latin American countries, and Iran's technology can compete with other countries in this field, he further highlighted.

The export revenue of medicinal plants is estimated at $700 million, the caretaker of the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, Rouhollah Dehghani, has said.

He made the remarks at the 6th National Festival and Exhibition of Medicinal Plants, Natural Products, and Iranian Traditional Medicine which was held in Tehran from November 1 to 4, 2022.

Stating that out of 2,500 medicinal plants, 1,800 of them are endemic to Iran, he emphasized that Iran with its own strong history of traditional medicine and a rich ecosystem of medicinal plants has a huge opportunity for increasing share in the national and global market.

The export revenue of medicinal plants is $700 million. However, it should be increased considering the high potential of the country, he said.

Stating that half of the country's export revenue is related to saffron, he highlighted that this amount is not significant compared to the turnover of this industry in the world.

According to the document approved by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, it is predicted that there is at least $3 billion of capacity in the country in this field, and it can reach $15 billion by focusing on the peripheral technologies, he noted.

He went on to say that in recent years, it has shown that people's approach to complementary medicine to herbal products is increasing drastically.

In this regard, the biggest support measure for knowledge-based companies is market building, in which we can develop domestic and foreign markets, he also suggested.


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