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Many and many crises are looming over the reality of the pharmaceutical industry in Iraq, as the plans of the past years did not support its development, until the country became captive to importing 90% of its needs, according to government statements.
The Sudanese Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia'a, revealed that his country spends $3 billion annually to import medicines, and pledged to advance the pharmaceutical industry through several measures that his government will work on to ensure the development and localization of this industry. According to a report published by "Al Jazeera Net".
In the midst of talk about the insatiable import of medicines in Iraq, the local pharmaceutical industry seems modest, as despite the existence of several companies specialized in the pharmaceutical industry, it does not meet the local need.
The head of the Pharmacists Syndicate, Mustafa Al-Hiti, reveals that there are 24 governmental, private and mixed factories, with 24 other factories under construction, all of which are distributed in many governorates, and Baghdad comes in the forefront, followed by the factories of Samarra, Nineveh and Basra, in addition to the Kurdistan region, at a time when the Anbar governorates are vacant. And Diyala, Kirkuk, Diwaniyah, Amarah and Nasiriyah from any factories.
These factories produce about 1,100 types of medicine, but Al-Hiti describes most of them as “typical” in the absence of a manufacturing industry for important and necessary medicines for cancer diseases, hormones, blood substitutes, insulin, ampoules, suppositories, etc., which are among the most imported medicines, according to him.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Hiti estimated the cost of purchasing locally manufactured medicines at about $200 million, which constitutes 11% of the value that the country spends annually on purchasing medicines, which is estimated at $3 to $4 billion.
It is worth noting that Kimiadia, affiliated to the Federal Ministry of Health, is the entity responsible for providing medicines and medical supplies to hospitals.
Reasons for retraction
Specialists summarize the reasons for the decline of the pharmaceutical industry in Iraq in the government's inability and negligence and the control of "mafias and networks" over the supply, distribution and smuggling of medicines and controlling their prices, especially after the authorities revealed the seizure of 100 tons of smuggled medicines last year.
Jawad al-Moussawi, a former member of the Parliamentary Health Committee (2018-2021), had indicated that the import or manufacture of medicines is carried out through some companies or private laboratories affiliated with certain political parties and parties, which led to a lack of quality control and oversight of imported and manufactured medicines, as well as fighting These companies produce the local product from Samarra Pharmaceutical Factories, as he put it.
Majid Shankali, head of the Health Committee in the House of Representatives, does not hide the existence of what he called "smuggling and merchant mafias" that work to import medicines to achieve more profits at the expense of local factories, in addition to the government deficit that led to the decline of the pharmaceutical industry after 2003, which prompted the import of 85% of the drug. Medication needs.
Regarding the rationale for Al-Sudani’s talk about the fact that most imported medicines are not subject to examination, Al-Hiti proposes a number of measures to address this phenomenon, including the need for cooperation between the laboratories of the region and Baghdad, Basra and Najaf, as well as the need to control border crossings, which will contribute to the disposal of medicines that are not subject to examination by a percentage. 80%, as he put it.
Diaa Al-Mohsen sees the need for mutual relations between local and international companies to transfer pharmaceutical expertise (Al-Jazeera)
As for how to advance and develop the pharmaceutical industry, the head of the Parliamentary Health Committee proposes a package of solutions, including the need for exemptions on customs duties for raw raw materials imported by pharmaceutical factories, while supporting and motivating the Ministry of Industry to buy medicines from local factories and not to import any medicines from abroad that can be manufactured. locally.
Shankali stresses the need to oblige the Ministry of Health and private and public institutions to purchase medicines from within, stressing that this step will enhance the status of the local product and provide 50% of Iraq's medical need.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Shankali seemed optimistic about the Minister of Industry's move regarding concluding contracts with local pharmaceutical factories worth 70 billion dinars ($48 million), describing it as a "very good gesture."
For his part, economist Diaa Al-Mohsen sees the need for mutual relations between local and international companies in order to transfer pharmaceutical expertise to the country, by training pharmacists and chemists in these industries, in a way that contributes to filling the local market’s need for medicines and contributes to exporting surpluses abroad, according to him.
Al-Mohsen stresses - in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net - the importance of establishing factories for international companies specialized in the pharmaceutical industry locally, provided that they grant the right of concession to Iraqis in the manufacture and production of medicines.
In this context, the most accurate description of the suffering of the drug policy in the country came from the words of the Prime Minister during his chairmanship of a meeting that included the Association of Drug Producers in the presence of the Ministers of Health and Industry, where he stressed the need for the pharmaceutical sector to further reorganize in the field of drug imports to achieve integrated drug security.
With all this prevailing uncertainty, the prime minister appeared optimistic about the ability of the private sector to produce more than 250 additional types of medicine through cooperation with international companies within a period ranging between 6 and 12 months.
Al-Sudani commented with some regret and admonition, saying, "The pharmaceutical market in Iraq spends about 3 billion dollars annually to import medicines, and most of them are not subject to examination, while Iraq produces only 10% of them."
After Al-Sudani's meeting, Health Minister Saleh Al-Hasnawi revealed to the Iraqi News Agency (INA) that a number of points related to the development of factories and facilitating procedures for establishing pharmaceutical factories and supporting their producers in terms of importing raw materials, customs exemptions, taxes and contracts with the Ministry of Health had been agreed upon.
In support of the minister's speech, Ruba Falah Hassan, the media official in the Ministry of Health, revealed the establishment of a committee to study and analyze the medicines of the national factories, pointing to the imminent start of its work after completing the administrative procedures.
In her speech to Al-Jazeera Net, this official raises the ceiling of her ministry's support for the pharmaceutical industry, stressing the need to develop the private and government sectors represented in the Samarra and Nineveh factories and the rest of the other factories, while working to fill the need for medicines and creating a committee to launch the financial exchange for the purchase of medicines from national factories.
The reality of Kurdistan
In the Kurdistan region, the reality is not much different from what it is in other provinces, as the efforts and warnings of the member of the parliament of the region, Karwan Ke Zhanye, did not succeed - for 4 consecutive years - in reducing the risks of selling and using medicines he described as "rotten and expired" in some hospitals. And health centers, noting that some of them are sold on public roads and inside pharmacies, according to him.
The Kurdish representative points to one of the most dangerous phenomena in the drug trade, saying, "A large part of it is used inside hospitals and sold in pharmacies without knowing its source or how to import it. Some of it is used to anesthetize patients before operations and cancer treatment, which puts their lives at risk."
Despite the attempts of the Al-Jazeera Net correspondent to communicate with the spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Kurdistan Regional Government to express his ministry's opinion, the failure to respond to the calls prevented that.
Meanwhile, the import of medicines in Kurdistan was exempt from taxes, but it became 5% on medicines, 10% on medical supplies, and 15% on medical devices, which the parliamentarian describes as a "bitter reality" that led to a rise in the prices of some medicines to about 10%. double.
On the reasons for this, the deputy commented - in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net - by saying, "The Ministry of Health in the region granted drug licenses to a company at fantastic prices," wondering about the reasons for raising taxes on some building materials and foods at a time when they are imposed on medicines, as he put it.
Views 145Added 02/12/2023 - 9:24 AMUpdated 2023/02/12 - 1:31 PM[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]