Iraq's Health Minister

Rare disease patients exceed 500, straining pharmaceutical budget

BAGHDAD, September 10 — Health Minister Saleh al-Hasnawi stated on Saturday that the number of rare disease patients in Iraq does not exceed 500, while 10 to 15 percent of the pharmaceutical company’s budget is allocated to this category, noting that importing drugs for rare genetic diseases drains the budget.

Al-Hasnawi affirmed in a statement to the Al-Sabah official newspaper, as reported by Network 964, that “all imported drugs are distributed equally among the provinces based on population ratios and the estimation of need, with health institutions submitting their data to estimate their annual needs.”

He pointed out that “a budget of IQD 1.651 trillion was allocated during the current year to the ministry within the federal budget for this year, including IQD 216 billion for the Kurdistan Region.”

He added that “the number of rare disease patients does not exceed 500, while the total budget spent on this category ranges from 10 to 15 percent of the budget of the General Company for Drugs and Medical Supplies.”

He explained that “three contracts for drugs have been discussed in the past short period regarding 377 patients with rare genetic diseases, and after negotiations and discussions with companies, the prices were reduced to $105 million, equivalent to 10 percent of the pharmaceutical company’s budget.”

Al-Hasnawi clarified that there are “contracts that drain a lot of the budget, especially rare drugs that require significant allocations when imported from abroad.”