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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 199-205

A news media analysis of economic sanction effects on access to medicine in Iran

1 Department of Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmaceutical Management, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Health Management and Economics; Knowledge Utilization Research Center Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
Arash Rashidian
Department of Health Management and Economics; Knowledge Utilization Research Center Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2279-042X.167042

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Objective: In the past decades economic sanctions have been used by different countries or international organizations in order to deprive target countries of some transactions. While the sanctions do not target health care systems or public health structures, they may, in fact, affect the availability of health care in target countries. In this study, we used media analysis to assess the impacts of recent sanctions imposed by the Central Bank of Iran in 2012 on access to medicines in Iran. Methods: We searched different sources of written news media including a database of nonspecialized weeklies and magazines, online news sources, web pages of daily newspapers and healthcare oriented weeklies from 2011 to 2013. We searched the sources using the general term "medicine" to reduce the chances of missing relevant items. The identified news media were read, and categorized under three groups of items announcing "shortage of medicines," "medicines related issues" and "no shortage." We conducted trend analyzes to see whether the news media related to access to medicines were affected by the economic sanctions. Findings: A total number of 371 relevant news media were collected. The number of news media related to medicines substantially increased in the study period: 30 (8%), 161 (43%) and 180 (49%) were published in 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively. While 145 (39%) of media items referred to the shortage of medicines, 97 (26%) reported no shortage or alleviating of concerns. Conclusion: Media analysis suggests a clear increase in the number of news media reporting a shortage in Iran after the sanctions. In 2013, there were accompanying increases in the number of news media reporting alleviation of the shortages of medicines. Our analysis provides evidence of negative effects of the sanctions on access to medicines in Iran.

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