Since October 19, 2020, Iran’s regime has been publicizing its supposed “victory” in preventing the snapback the United Nations arms embargo. But while regime officials boast that they will now be able to sell and purchase arms and military equipment to and from any country, the people of Iran are struggling to procure basic medication.
The shortage of insulin, in particular, which is endangering the health and lives of 5 million diabetes patients in Iran, has gained much attention in recent days and has become a hot topic of discussion in social media. “There’s no insulin” became to top-trending hashtag in the Farsi Twitter community.
On Tuesday, health minister Saeed Namaki rejected reports that there was a shortage of insulin in Iran and said, “We currently have no problem in providing insulin, and requesters can receive their required amount with their national card.” Namaki also claimed that this year, more insulin has entered the country than previous years. “There is currently a large amount of type 1 insulin in the country, and we have no shortage.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Gabrig Diabetic Association said, “Due to the shortage of insulin, diabetic patients are injecting less insulin and their blood sugar levels are out of control.”
Entekhab, a state-run news agency, reported on Tuesday, “In the past weeks, the shortage of insulin has cause problems for diabetics. Many patients have not been able to procure their needed medication. And this is while the Food and Drug Organization has declared that the shortage of insulin has been resolved.”
Tejarat News, another state-run outlet, reported on Tuesday, “There’s a shortage of insulin while there are 5 million diabetes patients in Iran and more than 600,000 of them must receive insulin shots every day. The shortage of the drug has pushed patients to procure their needs from social networks and black markets.”
In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Haidar Mohammadi the director-general of medicine at the Food and Drug Organization, claimed, “We have no shortage of insulin, but there is a shortage of foreign-made insulin pens. We have abundant supplies of regular and NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) insulin, and people can use them.” Haidar Mohammadi recommended that the people use these regular insulins manufactured inside Iran.
On Wednesday, Alireza Estaghamati, endocrinologist and metabolism expert, rejected Haidar Mohammadi’s recommendations, and in an interview with Jahan-e Sanat, said, “The insulin manufactured in Iran is banned in the European Union, the U.S. and Australia, and pharmacies are not allowed to sell them.” Esteghamati added that experts and physicians are “under a lot of pressure to approve these drugs.”
All of this happens while diabetes patients are among the groups that are most vulnerable to Covid-19.
In September, a group of endocrinologists wrote a letter to regime president Hassan Rouhani saying that, despite the diabetes associations’ correspondences with the Central Bank and the Ministry of Health about the severe shortage of glucose test strips and insulin pens, Iranian senior officials have not yet realized the urgency needed to tackle the deficit.
At the same time, while the regime is trying to blame shortage of drugs on U.S. sanctions, it is faced with national outrage after reports emerged that Iraqi authorities had seized 19 trucks that were smuggling drugs from Iran to Iraq.
In this regard, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said, “While the people of Iran are suffering from shortage of special medications including for diabetes, the IRGC exports these medicines to countries in the region. In the meantime, Rouhani celebrates a bogus victory over the import and export of arms for further belligerence.”