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Addressing Drug Shortages in Iran: Insights from Mohammad Hossein Motavalli’s Interview

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Mohammad Hossein Motavalli, Head of the Drug Supply Chain Monitoring Department at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Iran, recently offered detailed explanations regarding the perceived drug shortages and the complex issues underlying these shortages. In a comprehensive interview with Mehr News Agency, Motavalli delved into the multifaceted nature of drug accessibility. This topic often presents as opaque and is typically not well comprehended by the general public. He emphasized the challenges in the pharmaceutical supply chain that contribute to these shortages and discussed the need for greater public awareness and understanding of how drugs are supplied and managed within the healthcare system.

Motavalli explained that IVIG, a hospital-only medication, should not be stocked in local pharmacies due to its high cost and critical nature, which necessitates proper management within hospital settings. He highlighted that difficulties in accessing certain medications in pharmacies could stem from various issues, including financial constraints of the pharmacies themselves or liquidity problems in major pharmaceutical distribution companies.

Unraveling the Complexity of Drug Shortages and Distribution Challenges

Some medications might only be available through smaller distributors with limited coverage. The Head of Monitoring also mentioned that some items reported as unavailable are not medications but rather specific branded supplements. This adds another layer of complexity to what patients and even some healthcare providers might perceive as drug shortages.

Motavalli pointed out that another issue is whether a drug is officially listed in the country’s pharmaceutical index. He used the example of Basiliximab, citing instances where doctors report its drug shortages despite it not being officially imported or listed, leading to confusion among patients trying to locate it. He also noted that some patients seek specific brands, which can be challenging due to policies aimed at supporting domestic production and limiting or prohibiting the import of drugs that have local equivalents.

Drug Shortages

Combating Drug Shortages: Strategies from Motavalli’s Perspective

Motavalli reassured that many medications have potential substitutes that could be used effectively, though he acknowledged that drug inaccessibility is a global issue. He stressed the importance of the availability of critical medications and defined a significant delay in supply as anything under one month’s stock at the distribution level, highlighting the nuanced nature of drug supply management.

In conclusion, Motavalli emphasized the ongoing efforts to improve drug supply chains and ensure that patients have timely access to essential medications. He called for enhanced communication between healthcare providers, patients, and regulatory bodies to better manage expectations and understanding of drug availability and substitutions.


Resource: Mehrnews, May 13, 2024

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