Tehran Times – Iran and Lebanon have agreed to form a joint committee to prepare a five-year plan for cooperation in the health sector, announced Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki in a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart in Tehran.
According to Namaki, the joint committee will be comprised of representatives from health ministries of the two sides, ISNA reported on Monday.
“We are completely ready to help Lebanon in the field of health, medical care, medicine, and medical equipment,” said Namaki.
“Currently, many Lebanese students are studying in Iranian universities and their number is going to increase in future. Moreover, we will facilitate the treatment of Lebanese patients in Iran, so that they choose Iran as a friendly and peaceful destination to receive medical treatment.”
“We place great focus on transferring our technical knowledge to Lebanon. However, at first, we need to export some medicine to Lebanon to meet the immediate medical needs of people. Then, the private sector of both countries can cooperate on exchanging their technical knowledge,” he added.
“We believe that if can provide the infrastructure in Lebanon for producing some specific medicines, we can capture not only Lebanon’s market but also markets of other countries in the region,” he explained.
No limitations for cooperation with Iran
Over the meeting, Lebanese Health Minster Jamil Jabak announced that they see no limitations in cooperation with Iran, especially in the field of food and medicine, as they reject and condemn the cruel sanctions against Iran.
“I think many other countries in the region have the same opinion about sanctions against Iran,” said Jabak.
“In our visits from Iranian pharmaceuticals, we were amazed at the high quality of medicine produced in Iran and we want to use Iran’s technical knowledge and expertise in Lebanon,” he added.
“In Lebanon, the Health Ministry purchases medicine through private sector companies, so we will facilitate the import process for Lebanese private pharmaceuticals who want to supply their medicine from Iran.”
According to Jabak, Lebanon imports around $1.8 billion of medicine. Also, each year, $200 million is assigned for importing medicine from European and North American countries for chronic life threatening diseases.
The Lebanese health minister also asked for Iran’s technical and scientific help to build a central laboratory.
“After visiting Iran’s Central Laboratory for Food and Medicine Control, I realized that every country needs such a laboratory to control the quality of food, medicine, and water,” he said.
“We also visited some Iranian hospitals, and we think Lebanese medical students can benefit from specialized courses in Iran.”
According to a report released by Iran’s Food and Drug Administration, the country exported some $120 million worth of pharmaceuticals and raw materials in the last Iranian calendar year (ended March 20) which indicate a 70 percent year-on-year increase.
Russia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan are the main export destinations of the home-grown pharmaceuticals.