The Iranian regime is increasing the price of medicine again. Energy products are perhaps the most obvious examples of goods whose price the Iranian regime has increased or eliminated government subsidies for in recent years under the pretext of they are cheaper in Iran and are being smuggled to neighboring countries.
Regime officials and media are speaking about low prices in such a way that, anyone unaware that more than 70 percent of the population are living below the poverty line would believe that the people are living in prosperity and enjoying government assistance.
The regime’s comparison of medicine costs in Iran with the neighboring countries loses muster when one compares the income levels of people in Iran and the neighboring countries.
With the elimination of subsidies and preferential currency from some basic goods and medicine in recent years, a small amount of currency is now allocated to the import of basic goods and medicine.
Since the time of Hassan Rouhani’s government, the amount of goods and medicines that are subject to the preferred currency has been gradually reduced, and Iranian citizens are forced to buy them at free market prices, which are considerably higher.
When Ebrahim Raisi took power, his government took the initiative to remove the 42000 rial exchange rate to purchase basic goods and medicine. This was met with opposition within the regime’s parliament, and especially in the Joint Commission.
Some deputies opposed the elimination of the preferred currency, not out of sympathy for the people, but out of fear of the security and social consequences of removing it when basic goods and medicine are imported.
However, these objections did not prevent the spike in the prices of basic goods and some medicines. In a recent interview with state media, Bahram Daraei, head of the Food and Drug Administration, stated that there was only $2 million in the preferred currency available for medicine, adding that it is clear that the price of medicine is going up by four to five times.
He also added that if the currency is not allocated promptly to basic goods and medicine, the situation of medicine in 2022-2023 will be much worse than in 2021.
The state-run website ‘Ensaf News’ announced on January 21, 2022, that there are medicines in the market that have witnessed a price increase of 250 percent, and the price of medicines has increased significantly since the past 3 to 4 months.
In an interview with the same outlet, a pharmacist stated that the changes in the price of medicine have been very evident since a few weeks ago, and it is clear that the 42,000 rials preferred currency rate has been quietly removed from medicine.
Although many officials are warning about the adverse impact of eliminating the preferred currency rate and the increase of medicine prices, others continue to speak about medicine being cheap in Iran.
In one of the latest examples, Noushin Mohammad Hosseini, director-general of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office for Supervision and Monitoring of Consumption of Health Products, announced on February 26, 2022, that the price of medicine in Iran is very cheap. And this issue causes the reverse smuggling of medicines to neighboring countries.
Earlier, Shahbar Hassanpour Bigleri, a member of the Economic Commission of the regime’s parliament, had made a bizarre statement in December 2021 stating that now importers, pharmacies, and even the people are demanding that medicine be imported at the free-market currency rate.
These remarks come while the shortage and high price of medicine, especially some special medicines, in recent months and weeks have caused protests by Iranian citizens, and the scope of these protests has spread to social networks and cyberspace.
It remains to be seen whether, amid the dispute between Raisi’s administration and the parliament, the preferred currency from the pharmaceutical items under the pretext of low drug prices and smuggling will be removed.