Iran bartering medicine for food with South Americans: Deputy minister

Press TV – Head of the Food and Drug Administration of Iran says the country is bartering medicine produced in the country with food imported from South America.

Mohammad Reza Shanesaz, a deputy health minister, said on Wednesday that a main aim of the barter program was to help Iranian pharmaceutical companies to thrive by providing them with a broader access to export markets.

“This program allows Iranian medicine to enter various countries and causes exports to boom,” Shanehsaz told the IRNA agency, adding, “Through this, other countries will get to know the quality of medicine purchased from Iran as well as their affordable prices.”

The official said major economies often refuse to allow Iranian pharmaceuticals to become active in their markets because they fear the Iranian-made medicament could be a threat to their own products.

However, he said that the medicine for food barter scheme has been going on for a long period of time now, adding that it has nothing to do with the current state of the Iranian economy where the government is normally forced into barter programs to avoid American sanctions.

Iran has become a major pharmaceutical powerhouse in the Western Asia region mainly thanks to a continuous government support that has flown into the sector over the past years.

The support has paid off though as companies have managed to produce some of the highly-needed medicines whose delivery to Iran has been hampered by the US sanctions.

Washington has denied its sanctions have had any impact on import of food and medicine into Iran. However, the US Department of Treasury recently issued a special permission for trade of such humanitarian items with Iran through a new Swiss financial mechanism.

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