EghtesadOnline: Learning your child’s cancer has come back, adding to the agony, the cocktail of drugs four-year old Mahdi needs to stay alive simply isn’t available. His mom says Mahdi is her only child, conceived after 13 years of trying.
The most doctors can do for him now is keep him comfortable, according to a CBS video report. Transcription of part of the report follows:
CBS: It a very difficult thing, if it wasn’t for the supports of hospital, would you be able to provide the medical treatment that your son needs?
Mahdi’s Mom: No
Mahak is a charity hospital offering free healthcare to sick kids from across Iran. Founded in 1991, nearly 30,000 children have received cancer treatment here.
Following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal last year and reimpose the toughest ever sanctions, vital drugs are in short supply.
Iran produces most of its own pharmaceuticals but when it comes to the most advanced medicines it relies heavily on imports and that’s where sanctions pose a serious hurdle.
Technically, medicines are exempt from US sanctions but financial transactions to purchase them in the global marketplace are not, making the drugs nearly impossible to import.
Dr Shabnam Hemmati is in charge of Mahak hospital’s pharmaceuticals.
CBS: Are people losing their lives because they can’t get drugs?
Dr Shabnam Hemmati: Yes.
-What do you say to a parent whose child has a cancer that the drug is available outside Iran but you can’t bring it into Iran. What do you say to them?
- I just tell them to pray and be sure that we are with you. We know your pain and we do as much as we can for you.
Doctors don’t know exactly how many children have died because of this inability to bring in medicine, but as the CEO of the charity told us with 80% of the drugs no longer coming in, you only have to do the math.