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Foreign dumping stifling Iran’s pharmacy sector: Deputy president

File photo by Tasnim news agency shows staff at a pharmaceutical company in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad packaging medicines needed by hemophilic patients.

Iran’s deputy president for scientific and technological affairs says major pharmaceutical companies have resorted to dumping policy to prevent Iran from producing and marketing its own medicines.

Sorena Sattari said on Sunday that a foreign company had deliberately reduced prices for an anti-hemophilic medicine known as Factor VIII in order to prevent an Iranian company to sell the drug to patients inside the country.

“The foreign company has resorted to dumping and has reduced the prices in a way that the price of Factor VIII, which is now 200 euros in Turkey, has been declined to 20 euros (for the Iranian market),” said Sattari, adding, “This is an attempt to annihilate the domestic companies."

Iran announced in February that a pharmaceutical company based in the northeastern city of Mashhad had managed to produce Factor VIII, becoming one of the few in the world to attain the knowledge needed for the production of the drug.

However, Sattari said the company had now a rising inventory of Factor VIII mainly due to the fact that it was unable to compete with foreign rivals in commercializing the product in the domestic and regional markets.

“This medicine has been stockpiled in the storage house of this domestic company,” said Sattari, adding, "that comes as Factor VIII is not a medicine that could be stored for a long time.”

The remarks come as Iran seeks to reduce its dependency on imports of foods and medicines amid sanctions imposed by the United States which have seriously affected the government finances and its ability for engaging in normal trade with other countries.

Sattari said the government could do more to support start-ups and the so-called knowledge-based companies to make them immune from foreign plots although he would not elaborate.

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