Hemophilia patients in Iran are not receiving the treatment they need. Usually when cases like this make the news it is due to some form of drug shortage. According to Iran’s Hemophilia Society, however, this is not the case. The issue preventing treatment is financial. Debts between treatment centers and drug providers are putting patients in danger. Keep reading to learn more, and follow the original story here for further details.
In an interview with a state-operated news agency, Ahmad Ghavidel explains that there is no shortage of hemophilia drugs in Iran. They are not facing a crisis or shortage. The government does not even need to import additional drugs form outside sources. Despite this, patients are experiencing shortages.
According to Ghavidel, the companies responsible for distributing drugs crossed a line last year. They refused to supply hospitals with further treatments unless previous debts were paid. The same problem rears its head again now.
The result is that many medical centers and universities are unable to supply their patients with the treatments they need. One drug delivery company even refuses to deliver supplies to specialized hemophilia treatment centers.
This issue, according to reports, stems from the way in which government subsidies are being provided in Iran. Instead of receiving funding directly form the government, the funds for rare disease cures are now being allocated to insuring companies. These companies, many say, are not only unprofessional, but simply do not care about healthcare.
Some insurance companies fail to see the need for patients to receive additional treatment after their allotted quota has been met. Insuring companies act on the assumption that if a patient’s quota is filled they are being treated. Hemophilia, however, can become complicated by relatively simple incidents. It is a result of the body being unable to stop bleeding through the normal clotting process. What counts for a twisted ankle to many people could be an unsuspected medical emergency for a person living with hemophilia.
Further complicating the issue is the manner in which hemophilia drugs have been exempted from certain laws.
Hemophilia drugs are no longer part the list of items covered by the Goods and Currencies Smuggling Law. Normally taking subsidized drugs out the country would qualify as an act of smuggling. Under new legislation, however, hemophilia drugs are not protected despite subsidies still being paid. Subsidies used to help finance drug importers. Now they go straight to insuring companies.
The director of Iran’s Hemophilia Society further underlines the confusing nature of this decision. The director explains that if the goal was to export some of these drugs, an international license would be required. No measure have been taken to obtain such a license. He wonders if the government is even aware how botched the drug supply chain is. It is unclear who is responsible for monitoring this situation, and who is keeping track of the vast sums of money that are going to companies. All that is for certain is the money is not helping patients.