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Critics React to U.S. Plans to Privatize Iraq's Pharmaceutical Industry

Medical officials in Iraq say U.S. privatization of Iraq's pharmaceutical industry will render prescription drugs unaffordable for many patients.
Speaking to the U.N.'s Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) news service, the head of Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) in Iraq expressed concern over transforming a system where prescriptions were filled for less than $1 into a for-profit market created by the United States.

Advocates say privatization will remedy the ineffectual state-sponsored system, Kimadia; subject to the ills of the Oil-for-Food Program, medicine stockpiled and distributed through Kimadia to doctors was subject to shortages and delays.

"Kimadia may not have worked efficiently, but it made low-cost medicine available to patients who needed it," said Thomas Dehermann of IRIN.

"There will be more choices, anyway. Instead of one cough syrup, there might be 15 cough syrups," noted Muiz Ismail Al Amij of the World Health Organization. "In general, this situation is not helpful to the people who are sick."

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