Dec 01 2012
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Iran plans to import $2b worth of medicine to tackle deficit
A major portion of the imported medicine will be supplied to patients suffering from cancer and other hard-to-cure diseases, he noted.Although trade in medicine is exempt from international sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the unilateral sanctions announced by the U.S. and EU, Iranian importers say Western banks have been declining to handle it.The U.S. and EU have placed restrictions on dealings with Iran's Central Bank - the only official channel for Iranians to transfer money abroad - and Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, has cut Iran's banks out of its system.
The government said in July that it had $150b in foreign currency reserves to help cushion the blow of the sanctions.Officials have also sought to step up domestic production of medicine. However it has been limited by subsidy reforms which have increased the cost of fuel and electricity, as well as by shortages of increasingly-expensive raw materials.
© Tehran Times 2012
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