EghtesadOnline: The shortage in intravenous therapy (IV) fluid bags in Iran is due to five main reasons, according to the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s Health Economy Committee.
The withdrawal of one of the main IV fluid bag companies from the production cycle, increased IV bag consumption in hospitals following the surge in Covid-19 infections, restrictions on the import of a specific petrochemical product, power outages and outbound smuggling are the main reasons behind the shortage.
Shahid Ghazi Pharmaceutical Company with a production capacity of 4.5 million IV bags per month withdrew from production cycle in the first month of the current Iranian year (March 21-April 20) for reconstruction purposes, Mahmoud Najafi Arab was also quoted as saying by the TCCIM news portal.
“With the rise in the use of Remdesivir, which is used in the treatment of Covid-19, demand for IV bags has also increased. Each unit of Remdesivir is injected with one unit of IV fluid bags.”
IV fluid bags are created with two polyethylene materials known as PP and PV. Some IV bags only use PP that can be produced domestically, but some production units use PV for their production, which is mainly imported from China and South Korea. Due to currency problems, PV imports are limited and therefore, production units cannot produce enough IV bags as a result of the raw material’s shortage.
The official referred to smuggling as one of the main reasons behind the shortage of IV bags, adding that the bags are cheaper in Iran compared with other countries due to command pricing in Iran, therefore the huge volume of this product is being smuggled to other countries, especially Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
Najafi expects Iran’s need for IV bags will be met until August 22, as Iran’s Health Ministry has asked pharmaceutical companies producing this product to increase their capacity by 10%.
Iran’s IV bag production capacity is 15 million per month.