HealthCare in Iran (Persia)


Imam Khomeini hospital in Tehran



University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
This is the city where Avicenna, (Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abd Allah ibn Sina) great
ancient Persian physician and scholar, settled towards the last part of his life



Health care in Iran and medical sector’s market value was almost US $24 billion in 2002 and was forecast to rise to US $31 billion by 2007. With a population of 75 million (2012), Iran is one of the most populous countries in the 1) ___ ___. The country faces the common problem of other young demographic nations in the region, which is keeping pace with growth of an already huge demand for various public services. The young population will soon be old enough to start new families, which will boost the population growth rate and subsequently the need for public health infrastructures and services. Total healthcare spending is expected to rise from $24.3 billion in 2008, to $50 billion by 2013, reflecting the increasing demand on medical services. Total health spending was equivalent to 4.2% of GDP in Iran in 2005. 73% of all Iranians have health care coverage.


The Iranian constitution entitles its citizens to basic 2) ___ ___, and most receive subsidized prescription drugs and vaccination programs. An extensive network of public clinics offers basic care at low cost, and general and specialty hospitals operated by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) provide higher levels of care. In most large cities, well-to-do persons use private clinics and hospitals that charge high fees. About 73% of all Iranian workers have health care and social security coverage. In 2000, 94% of the population could access local health services, according to the WHO. Access ranged from 86% in rural areas to 100% in urban areas. Between 80% and 94% of the population could access affordable essential medicines in 1999. Since 2009, a new government plan called “the comprehensive insurance plan” provides basic 3) ___ to all Iranians.


The World Health Organization in the last report on health systems ranks Iran’s performance on health level 58th, and its overall health system performance 93rd among the world’s 4) ___. The health status of Iranians has improved over the last two decades. Iran has been able to extend public health preventive services through the establishment of an extensive Primary Health Care Network. As a result child and maternal mortality rates have fallen significantly, and life expectancy at birth has risen remarkably. Infant (IMR) and under-five (U5MR) mortality have decreased to 28.6 and 35.6 per 1,000 live births respectively in 2000, compared to an IMR of 122 per 1,000 and a U5MR of 191 per 1,000 in 1970. Immunization of children is accessible to most of the urban and rural population.


Although overall improvements have been achieved in all health areas since the 1979 revolution, the present challenging economic conditions of the country, combined with rapid advances in medical technology and information technology, individuals’ expectations, and the young demographic of the population will undoubtedly challenge the sustainability of past improving trends. In this regard, Iran is implementing a reform that places preventive medicine, the family doctor and the patient’s electronic medical history at the center of Iran’s health care system. Moreover there is a considerable variation in the human development index and the human poverty index across different provinces in the country. Iran is the 19th country in medical 5) ___ and is set to become the 10th within 10 years (2012).


Iran is also among the 12 countries with biological medicines technology and can serve as a health tourism center. 30,000 people come to Iran each year to receive medical treatment (2012).


The pharmaceutical industry in Iran began in its modern form in 1920 when the Pasteur Institute was founded. Iran has a well-developed pharmaceutical production capability, however, the country still relies on imports for raw materials and many specialized 6) ___. The standards regarding pharmaceutical products in Iran are determined and modified by the Pharmacopeia Council. Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) has a mission to provide access to sufficient quantities of safe, effective and high quality medicines that are affordable for the entire population. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has adopted a full generic-based National Drug Policy (NDP), with local production of essential drugs and vaccines as one of the main goals.


Although over 85% of the population use an insurance system to reimburse their drug expenses, the government heavily subsidizes pharmaceutical production/importation in order to increase affordability of 7) ___, which tends also to increase overconsumption, overprescription and misuse of drugs, such as antibiotics. The regulatory environment of the country is rather strict on the import of drugs and pharmaceuticals towards companies that intend to enter into the market for the first time. The Ministry of Health and Medical Education is the main stakeholder of pharmaceutical affairs in the country.


There are 92 companies in Iran that are active in the pharmaceutical industry. The Social Security Investment Co. (SSIC), Iran’s largest holding company, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Welfare, presently owns and controls 22 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and possesses a 40% share of total pharmaceutical production in Iran.


The leading pharmaceuticals company is Darou Pakhsh, which is majority-owned by the Social Security Organization. The company manufactures, distributes, imports and exports finished products and pharmaceutical raw materials. Darou Pakhsh has an annual turnover of US$400m and claims to have the largest research and development operation of any Iranian drug firm. The company formed a plasmapheresis joint venture with a German medical firm, Biotest AG, in early 2004. As of 2010, 50% of raw materials and chemicals used in the drug manufacturing sector are 8) ___.


ANSWERS: 1) Middle East; 2) healthcare; 3) coverage; 4) nations; 5) research; 6) drugs; 7) medicines; 8) imported


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