Unintended consequences : the impact of sanctions on the Iranian pharmaceutical industry
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The United States first imposed sanctions on Iran after a breakdown in diplomatic relations following the end of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Many have debated whether these sanctions have had an actual effect on the Iranian government. While the United States originally imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, it later collaborated with the European Union and United Nations to put multilateral sanctions on Iran with better success. But while the U.S. has been targeting the Iranian government, these sanctions have also had an impact on the Iranian citizens. While sanctions have been intended to pressure the government to stop or reduce enrichment of uranium, they have also had an impact on the population, particularly in the medical arena. Although the US allows for some exceptions to the sanctions in order to provide Iran with the necessary products for the pharmaceutical and medical industries, sanctions still have a direct impact on patients. As shown by trends in the pharmaceutical industry and by the failed Vienna Agreement in 2009, intended to discuss a fuel swap for the Tehran Research Reactor, the required treatment for about 850,000 patients went unmet.1One must wonder if sanctions, particularly under the Obama administration, have had their intended effect on the Iranian government or if they have had a greater impact on the Iranian population. Only after examining the histories of the Iranian pharmaceutical industry, the sanctions on Iran, and the impact of sanctions on the industry today can we determine how sanctions have actually affected the Iranian population.
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