EghtesadOnline: A total of 226 trucks carrying IV fluid bags entered Iran from Aug. 10 to Sept. 6, according to the technical deputy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“A total of 5,438 tons of IV fluid bags worth €6.3 million were imported to Iran during the period,” Mehrdad Jamal Orounaqi was also quoted as saying by ISNA.
The fifth wave of Covid-19 pandemic started in Iran a few weeks ago and increased demand for IV fluid bags and shortage in the market and hospitals.
According to the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s Health Economy Committee, the shortage of intravenous therapy fluid bags in Iran has five main reasons.
The withdrawal of one of the main IV fluid bag companies from the production cycle, increased IV bag consumption in hospitals following a surge in Covid-19 infections, restrictions on the import of a specific petrochemical product, power outages and outbound smuggling were the main reasons behind the shortage.
“Shahid Ghazi Pharmaceutical Company, with a production capacity of 4.5 million IV bags per month, stopped production in the first month of the current Iranian year (March 21-April 20) for reconstruction purposes,” Mahmoud Najafi-Arab explained.
“With an increase 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,” he was quoted as saying by the TCCIM news portal.
IV fluid bags are created with two polyethylene materials known as PP and PV. Some IV bags only use PP, which 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 shortage.
The official referred to smuggling as another main reason behind the shortage of IV bags. He said the bags are cheaper in Iran compared with other countries due to the command pricing in Iran, therefore, a huge volume of this product is being smuggled to other countries, especially Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdish Region.
According to Najafi-Arab, pharmaceutical companies producing this product have been asked by Iran’s Health Ministry to increase their capacity by 10%.
Iran’s IV bags production capacity is 15 million bags per month.