Background: Politico-economic sanctions over the recent years have led to significant challenges in the pharmaceutical supply chain (PSC) in Iran. Given the importance of the chain’s resilience for the health system and its impact on accessibility, equity, and public health, this study was conducted to determine the major challenges facing pharmaceutical procurement in Iran after the imposition of these sanctions.
Methods: This was qualitative research with a content analysis approach conducted in 2019. Eighteen policymakers and administrative managers in food and drug administration of two Iranian Medical Universities and Iran’s Ministry of Health were included in the present study via snowball sampling and semi-structured interviewi. The data were analyzed using the framework analysis of MAX QDA10.
Results: Five main themes and 15 sub-themes were identified, which addressed pharmaceutical supply chain challenges under politico-economic sanctions. These included the challenges in financing, purchasing, importing, and manufacturing domestic products in addition to storing and distributing medicines, along with challenges facing the general public, particularly patients.
Conclusion: The results revealed that pharmaceuticals are not immune to politico-economic sanctions, although they are not directly subject to them. Sanctions, like any economic crisis, can affect public health and limit their access to healthcare. Identifying supply chain challenges and planning to address them could help policymakers find solutions to enhance PSC resilience in the future.