It is worth noting that Masih Daneshvari hospital is one of the advanced hospitals in Iran and presided by Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to supreme leader Ali Khamenei. It’s said that many coronavirus patients among officials were treated in this hospital, including Velayati himself.
According to reports, the Iranian government previously received 3,000 doses of favipiravir from Japan in addition to 15,000 more from China. Another report said, “From 30 COVID-19 patients in Masih Daneshvari, 27 were recovered with favipiravir usage.” However, according to Dr. Hashemian, the Health Ministry avoids delivering this essential medicine to doctors.
“I won’t be silent, give us our medicine. Since a month ago, we consulted and pursued it. We pleaded and wrote a prescription for patients. Give back our medicine from the [Health] Ministry. The medicine should be delivered to us, the doctors who are treating the patients. We are worried about the patients dying!” he said.
He also mentioned positive results of favipiravir usage in Masih Daneshvari hospital and rejected the Health Ministry’s excuses, saying, “Stop objecting, we don’t fear anyone! We’re not acting. We’re serious. Favipiravir usage began from this hospital [Masih Daneshveri]. We treated many patients, and they recovered. But, the [Health] Ministry doesn’t give us. Give [farapiravir] to us, please.”
Dr. Hashemian explained how the Iranian Health Ministry tried to cover the existence of favipiravir in Iran despite using it for several patients. “I gave a prescription for a patient. They called me from the Ministry and said, ‘Why did you write a prescription for a medicine that doesn’t exist in Iran?’ I told them, ‘This medicine is curing and please, please, give it to us,'” he added.
Dr. Hashemian criticized the Iranian Health Ministry’s function over providing medicine for doctors despite its existence inside the country, saying, “Your responsibility is to provide medicine, our responsibility is to prescribe it. We all should know that who does his duty? You must provide medicine, and I give a prescription.”
Additionally, he rejected unnecessary interference by the Health Ministry and refused the Ministry’s pretext under the lack of FDA approval. “I’ll give it to the patients. The medicine should be given to patients either inside or outside the ICU. I don’t care whether it has FDA approval or not. That is our business. Many medicines used in Iran don’t have FDA [approval],” Dr. Hashemian said. “In fact, medicine exists in Iran. Please give it to us today. We have been waiting for a week, since Friday,” Mohammad Reza Hashemian ended by one more insisting on his appeal.