Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Sept. 19, 2018 - While Iranian officials are fast busy plundering and liquidating the country’s wealth and resources, and while the regime continues to spend stellar amounts on fomenting war and violence in neighboring countries, the people of Iran continue to suffer and see their lives decline into famine and misery. A less discussed aspect of this ongoing crisis is how corrupt regime institutions and officials are affecting Iran’s healthcare industry.
Iran’s hospitals are faced with a shortage of necessary medical equipment to treat infections. The shortage has become so severe that the president of the AIDS department in Tehran’s Khomeini Hospital has warned against the reuse of equipment. “We are faced with a shortage both in equipment and in medication,” she said in an interview with the state-run ILNA news agency. “We are especially faced with a problem in the material that we use to control infections.”
The situation has grown so serious that some material, including appliances used in heart surgery and treating heart diseases are being reused across operations and treatments. Previously, Maryam Ghassemi, the head of the Medical Equipment Producers Organization had warned about the danger of shortage of medical equipment in health centers and described it as a threat for the country’s healthcare industry.
In Iran’s monthly Medical Engineering Journal (Mohandesi-e Pezeshki), Ghassemi warned against the threat of import of smuggled low quality goods and their entrance into the country’s healthcare industry.
This is all happening while every year, a huge budget is allocated to the purchase of medical goods. But corruption and graft at the highest levels of the government prevent these goods from reaching the people and proper institutions.
In August, during an interview with the Iranian regime’s Channel One News (Kanal-e Yek), Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani, member of the parliament’s health commission, said, “The budget that has been allocated [to medical expenditures] has tripled compared to four months ago, but there hasn’t been enough supervision to document the medication and equipment orders.”
In the same program, Channel One describes that “every year, approximately $1 billion is allocated to the import of medical goods and another billions dollars is given to companies at low exchange rates so that they can import medical material and equipment.”
In one discovered case of corruption, Shabnam Nematzadeh, the daughter of the former Mines and Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, was found to be hoarding a stock of medication worth 50 billion rials (approx. $500,000). After the warehouse was discovered, many of the medications were found to have been expired.
Also, according to ISNA news agency, an inspection in 2017 found more than 6 thousand cases of smuggling involving medicine, hygiene products and medical equipment. Meanwhile, patients with cancer and other dangerous illnesses are faced with a shortage of medication.
The Hamshahri daily describes the situation as such: “The cycle of procuring medication has turned into a confusing mess, confounding the producers, importers, distributers and most important of all the consumers.”
But the spokesperson of the Iranian regime’s health ministry shamelessly told Mehr News Agency that “the shortage of medicine is natural.”
This statement is in contradiction to what the regime’s own news outlets are reporting about the situation in Iran. In an interview with the Khorasan Daily, the manager of the medication and medical material in control of Mashhad’s Health Sciences University warned, “One of the new problems is the reverse smuggling of medical goods. In previous years, goods were smuggled into the country from foreign countries. But presently, good are being smuggled ‘out of the country,’ and medicine is no exception.”