Commenting on the latest information about the imminent importation of Iranian drugs into Lebanon, sources close to the daily Al Anbaa rule out any danger for the time being. According to the same sources, “the committees that study drug dossiers in Lebanon are reliable, and they include doctors and pharmacists, and the drug registration process is not a simple one.”
They indicate that these drugs are subject to the same standards as those from the United States, Europe or Canada and are specific to international standards.
“There are pharmaceutical factories in Iran that adhere to international standards, and there is no problem importing from these factories,” the same sources tell the Arabic-speaking daily.
Also, the problem is linked to the fact that the Banque du Liban would not have respected its promises to grant the lines of credit necessary for the importation of medicines since December 2020, thus interrupting the supply of these products to the local market. This bill, currently $ 780 million, could increase further in the months of May and June, which are currently not included.
This information comes at a time when Lebanese pharmacies and their customers are suffering from drug shortages, particularly for chronic diseases and people suffering from cancer. Faced with this situation, pharmacists declared to open an unlimited strike movement. A number of them have thus already been the subject of attacks by customers who unfortunately demand drugs that are no longer available on the local market.
For its part, the central bank indicates that it has already paid $ 536 million for importing drugs as of June 30, 2021, while the value submitted for prior approval was estimated at $ 445 million. The total import bill would therefore reach $ 1.5 billion on that date, while the Banque du Liban would have financed $ 1,173 million in drugs in 2020. Consequently, the BdL would not have settled a balance of 445 million dollars until today.
For his part, outgoing Minister of Health Hassan Hamad accuses the central bank of publishing unbalanced information, noting that the period of 2020 cannot be compared to 2021 due to the epidemic of the coronavirus.