Special Features

Fake Coronavirus Medication Kills at Least Six in Tehran

September 12, 2020
Pouyan Khoshhal
4 min read
Lack of information and clear guidelines have led some people to buy and take fake medication
Lack of information and clear guidelines have led some people to buy and take fake medication
According to Mohsen Khancharli, commander of police in western Tehran province, at least six people had died after taking a fake coronavirus drug, but more deaths could follow
According to Mohsen Khancharli, commander of police in western Tehran province, at least six people had died after taking a fake coronavirus drug, but more deaths could follow

At least six people have died in Tehran province after taking coronavirus medication that has not been approved by any domestic or international health agency, medical researchers or professionals, or by any major pharmaceutical group. The deaths come amid persistent rumors that a vaccine for the virus was being spearheaded in Iran, and in the absence of clearly-defined guidelines or reliable sources of information. 

Mohsen Khancharli, commander of police in western Tehran province, said that there had been five arrests in connection with the sale and distribution of fake coronavirus drugs. “They sold 52 of these vials to people in various parts of Tehran province, each vial for 45 million tomans [over US$10,000] and cheated them out of 234 million tomans [over $56,0000],” he said.

There has also been increased worry about the welfare of children. Mohammad Mehdi Tondgouyan, the deputy in charge of youth affairs at the Ministry of Sport and Youth, said he worried the illegal trade in selling children could be on the rise. He did not specify if these children would be sold to couples desperate to have children, or whether they might be brought into the country’s child labor market. Certainly groups dealing in such transactions do not tend to have clear lines on how they operate. 

The coronavirus crisis has led to the cancelation of many wedding ceremonies, with couples postponing until the pandemic subsides.  Tondgouyan expressed concerns about a possible drop in the number of marriages, despite the fact that no definitive statistics are available to indicate whether there has been an increase or decrease in marriages. “Something fundamental must be done about this,” he said. He encouraged weddings to take place “in a simple way” and “welcomed” the reality that “luxurious ceremonies” were on their way out. 

Tondgouyan also warned that the epidemic and numerous economic problems could lead to an increase in abortions, prompting more serious problems in society.


Inmates With Coronavirus Only Sent to Hospitals When on Verge of Death

Imprisoned citizen journalist Soheil Arabi has told the international media that inmates with coronavirus are not being sent to hospitals until they are close to dying. In a video message sent to VOA Persian in early September, Arabi, who is imprisoned on blasphemy charges, said. “The conditions at Greater Tehran Penitentiary are very bad because there is poor hygiene,” adding that it was easy for viruses and bacteria to spread among the prison population and between wards, and that “the lives of more than 20,000 people” were at risk. A July 7 report by Iranian state-approved news site Etemad put the prison's population at 17,000, above its official capacity of 15,000 inmates.

“One ward is used to quarantine inmates who test positive for the coronavirus, but they are not sent to outside hospitals until they are a step away from death,” Arabi said. He reported that only a small number of hospitals have been allowing admission from the prison population, in part because prison authorities have failed to repay debts to these clinics.


Provinces Round-up

The number of coronavirus cases in the provinces of Kerman and Kermanshah is on the rise. Kerman is a red state of alert and the situation is likely to get worse, reported Mohammad Sadegh Basiri, Kerman deputy governor for political, security and social affairs. He pointed to travel as being a particular cause for concern. “We want the airlines to do a better job of enforcing health guidelines,” he said. “Nor are the health guidelines followed in the public transportation system or in taxis. Something must be done about this before the cold season arrives, because the coronavirus epidemic might get worse as it does. By next week the provincial coronavirus taskforce must come up with a plan to handle this situation.”

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in Kermanshah has increased by 100 in just one week, bringing the total to 280, reported Mahmoud Reza Moradi, president of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences. He also reported that some medical centers designated to deal with coronavirus that had been closed have now reopened. “The province is now in a yellow state of alert but if this trend continues and people ignore health protocols it could turn red,” he said.

In the last few days the number of coronavirus outpatients and hospitalizations has increased in Khuzestan province, reported Dr. Farhad Abolnejadian, president of Ahvaz Jondishapur University of Medical Sciences, though he was unable to provide any figures. He also reported that, currently, the four cities of Abadan, Behbahan, Aghajari and Omidiyeh in the province are in a red state of alert.

In her daily briefing for September 12, the health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari said that currently 13 provinces are in a red state of alert and 15 provinces are in an orange state.


Dr. Lari also announced the official coronavirus statistics for the last 24 hours.



This is part of IranWire's coronavirus chronology. Read the full chronology



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