Jan 18, 2022 06:26 UTC
  • Official: Despite US claims, sanctions taking heavy toll on Iran’s patients with thalassemia

The managing director of the Iranian Thalassemia Society says despite US claims that sanctions imposed on Iran do not cover humanitarian items, including medical equipment and medicine, the bans are taking a heavy toll on the country’s thalassemic patients.

Speaking about the supply of medicines for people with thalassemia in Iran, Younes Arab said in an interview with Tasnim news agency on Monday that “currently, there are 23,000 thalassemic patients in the country, most of whom need to use these drugs throughout their life.”

Since the beginning of the US-imposed sanctions, Arab said, the restrictive measures have created many challenges for Iranian thalassemic patients and have had a direct impact on the treatment of such patients, the main part of which is related to the provision of their life-saving medicines.

The managing director of the Iranian Thalassemia Society said more than 540 patients with thalassemia have fallen victim to the sanctions since May 2018, when the US administration under former President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 landmark deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed draconian sanctions against the country.

“Some European companies supplying raw materials for the production of pharmaceuticals have directly sanctioned Iran and we are also facing problems for the transfer of foreign currency. Therefore, we are dealing with serious problems for production of [necessary] drugs."

Underlining that a main reason for the failure to provide necessary drugs for thalassemic patients is due to sanctions, Arab said, "Since the beginning of the Persian solar calendar year, no medicine for thalassemic patients has been imported and the production of medicine in the main company producing drugs for thalassemia patients has stopped."

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder caused when the body does not make enough of a protein called hemoglobin, an important part of red blood cells. The disorder results in large numbers of red blood cells being destroyed, which leads to anemia.

World leaders have time and again called on Washington to exempt humanitarian and medicinal supplies from the list of its anti-Iran sanctions; but to no avail.

Iran is also battling the coronavirus pandemic under the harshest sanctions which the US re-imposed after leaving the UN-backed nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers in 2018.