Pharmaceutical Sector in Iran: Current Status and Prospecs

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-7-57-62

Z. Mamedyarov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation


After more than 35 years of economic sanctions imposed by the United States following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran finally gained relief in 2016. Despite its obvious negative impact, the long economic isolation did not prevent the development of some sectors of national economy, including pharmaceutical industry. After the suspension of Western sanctions, Iranian government proclaimed the necessity of modernization of the industry. This requires transition from a closed system based on production of generics to a more open and innovative scheme of development and international connections. Currently, Iranian pharmaceutical industry is domestically oriented and characterized by a small share of imports. At the same time, there are good opportunities for exporting Iranian medicines to a number of neighbouring countries which are characterized by dense population, extremely underdeveloped pharmaceutical industry and healthcare systems. The current volumes of pharmaceutical exports from Iran do not correspond to the available market demand. However, modernization of the national pharmaceutical industry faces a number of problems, including excessive state regulation and black market’s activities. In addition, while allowing foreign companies to enter its domestic market for the first time after a long isolation, Iran risks to see decreased activity in the field of local pharmaceutical R&D which may negatively impact on the prospects for entering the international pharmaceutical market. Moreover, in order to produce and promote the newest innovative pharmaceutical products, Iran needs to consider the international standards in the production of medicines and make every effort to join the WTO at the earliest. Leveraging the SWOT analysis, this article provides an overview of the current state and development prospects of Iranian pharmaceutical industry and reveals the gravest potential development challenges.


Iran, pharmaceutical industry, regulators, sanctions, SWOT analysis, innovations


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For citation:
Mamedyarov Z. Pharmaceutical Sector in Iran: Current Status and Prospecs. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2018, vol. 62, No 7, pp. 57-62.

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