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Healthcare Sector


An overview:

As an important point, Article 29 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes that every Iranian has the right to enjoy the highest attainable level of health. The Ministry of Health and Medical Education is mandated to fulfill this goal through designing and implementing a national-level health policy. Yet, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education delegates its implementation to medical universities across the country. There is at least one medical university in every province. The president of a medical university is the highest health authority in the province who reports to the Minister of Health and Medical Education. The president of the medical university is in charge of public health, health care provision in public facilities, and medical education. Health care and public health services are provided through a nation-wide network. This network consists of a referral system, starting at primary care centers in the periphery going through secondary-level hospitals in the provincial capital and tertiary hospitals in major cities. The public sector provides primary, secondary, and tertiary health services. The emphasis of the government on primary health care over the last two decades has made the public sector the main provider of primary health care services across the country. Some primary health care services such as prenatal care and vaccination are provided free of charge in public facilities. The public sector also provides a considerable part of secondary and tertiary health services in the province. The private sector plays a significant role in health care provision in Iran. The private sector mainly focuses on secondary and tertiary health care in urban areas. There are many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) active in health issues in Iran. NGOs are mainly active in special fields like children with cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, thalassemia, and so on.


Facts and figures about the sector

Here you could find some main figures of this sector such as total health expenditure % of GDP, Iran's population, Iran healthcare trends, main causes of death in Iran and current healthcare infrastructure.

Total health expenditure % of GDP



Health Sector









Top causes of death in Iran




 Current healthcare infrastructure

  • Characteristics of medical services infrastructure:





  • Education and Human capital




Iran’s plans for future investments and expanding the sector

Investment Opportunities of Iran Healthcare Sector:


Islamic Republic of Iran is the second-largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and the 18th biggest in the world, according to the World Bank. With a population close to 80 million people, the second-most populous nation in the region, Iran is highlighted as one of the most attractive destination for economic and financial investment, and gets even more attractive if we bear in mind, that Iran as the safest country in this region, is at the center of a 400 million common market among its neighboring countries. After several years of economic, financial and industrial contraction, most of the sanctions against Iran will be lifted soon and world gets ready to explore a new Iran; safe, secure ad phenomenal for investment.

The current government of Islamic Republic of Iran has a special emphasis on attracting foreign investments into Iran instead of just importing goods and commodities. These investments can happen in different sectors and in various ways. Public Private Partnership or in short (PPP) is one of the most common methods of large scale investments which can bring about win-win solutions for all involved parties while their common goals are achieved.

Here, in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, PPP would be the first choice for mutual cooperation, although in some cases other types of cooperation such as EPCF, lease or else might be considered.

In the last few months, need assessments have been done within healthcare sector and seven main priorities have been identified and confirmed as the next five-year road map of MOH.


These six main areas of Health sector priorities consist of:


  1. Hospital Complexes
  2. Pharmaceutical Industry
  3. Central Laboratories (Specialty Labs - Mega Labs)
  4. Comprehensive Cancer Centers
  5. Imaging Centers
  6. Dialysis Centers.
  7. Dental and Oral Medicine Hospitals


Hospital Complexes:


According to the sixth development plan of Islamic Republic of Iran, we should achieve 2.6 beds/1000 people ratio to get close to the world average. In order to gain this goal, 115K new beds must be built within five years which is equal to an approximate amount of 15 billion dollars of investment. This number includes 20 general mega hospitals with 500 and 1000 beds capacity each.


Pharmaceutical Industry:


While Focusing on the production of high-tech medicines that can be exported to the emerging markets, Iranian pharmaceutical companies are working hard to meet the demands, and to maintain the growth rate in the sector.


Central Laboratories:


Private sector collaboration in providing laboratory services in university laboratory networks in order to achieve the objectives of the 44th Article of the Constitution, reduction in the governmental investment, operation, and allocation of public funds, and creating an interaction for development in both quality and quantity of laboratory services coverage utilizing all existing possibilities and capacities are necessary.

One of the important areas of interest is the diagnostic laboratory capacity of Islamic Republic of Iran health system which is requires to be enhanced both in quantity and quality. In order to increase our quality and efficiency of the system, more than fifty mega laboratories are planned to be built according to the national plan based on the geographical and regional needs.


Comprehensive Cancer Center:


According to our national data, the number or of patients suffered of cancer is grown and the need for cancer centers accordingly. MOH&ME have divided the country into 13 hubs, 3 in Tehran and the rest in other provinces.

Each hub consists of one PET scan and some Type 2 & Type 3 standard satellite centers in which we require from 1 to 4 LINACs according to the plan.


Imaging Centers


Nowadays, medical imaging equipment and systems play a crucial role in diagnosis and treatment of diseases. There are a great number of public hospitals in different parts of the country that are in need of being equipped with different imaging systems or being renovated.

With regard to the approach of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to utilize and explore the private sector’s capacity, expertise and experience to equip and operationalize these centers, adopting public-private partnership methods has been put on the agenda.

MOH in new approach decided to change its strategy from purchasing of equipment’s to services purchasing. According to the new strategy, MOH guarantees the adequate volume of services and services providers should keep the services ready to apply based on the mutual agreement.

In order to increase the diagnostic capacity in the health system, Iran’s healthcare sector requires to increase the numbers of imaging devices in the following mentioned equipment’s; Sonography, Mammography, CT Scan, Angiography, Gamma Camera, MRI and Digital radiology. An investment of 280 million Dollars for new Imaging Centers in the country is estimated.


Dialysis Centers:


The continued growth of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is one of the realities of Iran’s Healthcare status which deserves specific attention. Due to demographic, economic and cultural changes in Iran it is expected that diseases have an accelerating upward trend. On the other hand, ESRD patients in different directions, including overhead costs, the side effect disease and hospitalization rate in hospitals, have a significant impact on the health care economy and the pattern of treatment. By the end of 2014, about 53 thousand patients with ESRD were treated with one of the alternative methods (25.934 people were under treatment of hemodialysis, 25.000 transplant and approximately 1.523 people were under Peritoneal Dialysis)

Prevalence of patients in need of dialysis: 353 people in one million populations.

Average of incidence to ESRD: 680 people in one million populations. There are 474 permanent hemodialysis centers (86 percent public, 6 percent private and 8 percent charity) almost all inside the hospital medical centers. Due to low quantity of dialysis centers in the country, as well as low productivity and poor quality of service delivery in many of them, an investment of 130 million Dollars in the first phase for new dialysis centers in the country is estimated.


Dental and Oral Medicine Hospitals


The need to provide dental health services in the Islamic Republic of Iran is on the rise due to higher life expectancy and the population growth. Given the ratio of population to the number of centers offering dental health services, the situation is more prominent in megacities. The expansion of basic and supplementary insurance coverage on preventative dental treatment and deeds in Iran requires a new therapy centers have intensified. Improved insurance coverage by standard and supplementary policies for preventive and therapeutic dental procedures exacerbate the need for establishing new service centers in Iran.

Currently, 26,361 dentists provide dental health services at clinics (private, public, and military) or private practices. Of these, 21,708 people are only active in the private sector. In addition, specialty services that can be provided at dental clinics and private practices have never been centralized in a hospital center along with those that must be provided as inpatient services. Currently, there are no dental hospitals for the countless patients who need services under general or specific forms of anesthesia.

In light of the above introduction, establishing specialty dental hospitals in Iran is a felt need. Other target groups can also be of interest to dental hospital. These include patients from neighboring countries (health-tourists) who find our superior services and affordable fees more attractive, and are interested to be in Iran to receive these services. Also, given the lower costs for these services, many Iranians residing abroad receive dental services in Iran every year. In these cases, providing full dental services over a short period of time would be more feasible at hospitals.

In addition to providing the public with specialty outpatient dental services in different areas, a dental hospital can offer inpatient services for dental care. A major advantage of a dental hospital is offering all services centralize din the same place. Certain dental clinics may somewhat be able to provide centralized services (except inpatient services), nonetheless, most clinics lack all the necessary units. For example, patients might need to refer to other centers for laboratory or radiology work-ups.


Why choose Iran for investment

The health system of the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a top position, approved by the World Health Organization, in the region. It is backed by specialized manpower, the health care network and the comprehensive plan of universal health coverage. Meanwhile Iranian physicians and specialists are highly qualified and experienced for their outstanding clinical and technical skills. More than 95 percent of drugs and nearly 50 percent of needed medical equipment are domestically produced while we are pioneer in many areas including

scientific publications and organ transplantation, basic high technologies in the region.


The Vision 2025 of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the General Policies of Health endorsed by The Supreme Leader and decisions made by the government which are mandate to improve the utilization of health services and achieving appropriate place in the region were prioritized. Accordingly, the Health Transformation Plan was designed and implemented since May 2015. This plan has increased public satisfaction from health services, particularly in the inpatient care, based on the viewpoints of domestic and international observers.


The Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOH&ME) tries not to expand governmental services, in harmony with the government policies which encourage and urge the private sector to participate in health care provision. In this regard, the MOH&ME welcomes foreign investment and participation of Iranians living aboard in the development of the health infrastructure. The main policy of MOH&ME is to strategically purchase services through securing sustainable resources. To achieve international standards in health infrastructure,

we have to provide more than one hundred thousand new inpatient beds, in addition to repairing nearly 60 percent of available beds. Moreover, supplying medical equipment for

these beds, providing imaging equipment in various fields, providing dialysis beds, ground and air ambulances, building hospitals and cancer specialized hospitals, are among other

needs of health sector. With this volume of requests, the health investment need in Iran will be expanded further to reach beyond 25 billion dollars.


Investors may consider that the above amount of investment is only to meet the health needs of the residing population of Iran. Considering the population of 400 million inhabitants in the neighboring region which basically rely on the expertise of Iran, the requirements of health tourism, and pharmaceuticals and medical equipment trade, the need for investment will increase further.


Fortunately, the “Foreign Investment Law” has established a suitable framework for external funding so that foreign investors in health sector can use various methods including

PPP, BOT, BLT and other common methods to establish and maintain their activities here in Iran.


Ongoing international projects


  • The construction of 3 hospitals with the participation of South Korea
  • The construction of Barkat Hospital in Tehran with participation of China
  • Set Up a manufacturing plant in Iran by Danish pharmaceutical company, NovoNordisk



Iran pharmaceutical environment

Overall Description of the Sector

IRAN World Health Report