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Monday, 05 September 2011

With UNIDO assistance Iran phases out inhalers that harm ozone layer

TEHRAN, 5 September 2011 – Iran has become the first country of the Asia-Pacific region to successfully phase out metered dose inhalers based on chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.

A ceremony to mark this was organized in Tehran today by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) together with the Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Ministry of Health.

Participants, including medical practitioners, representatives of pharmaceutical companies, the Government, international organizations and the media, also commemorated the closing of the Sina Darou Laboratories’ manufacturing plant of CFC-based metered dose inhalers and looked at ways to further promote ozone-friendly alternatives.

CFCs have a wide variety of uses, including as propellant in metered dose inhalers used by patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is estimeated that worldwide there are over 300 million people with asthma and at least as many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which need inhalers.

In 2007, the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) approved funding for the conversion of CFC-based based metered dose inhalers to alternative technologies manufactured by Iran’s Sina Darou Laboratories.

“This event highlights the importance of protecting both the environment and the health of the Iranian people,” said the Minister of Health and Medical Education, Vahid Dastjerdi.

The Vice President and Head of the Department of Environment, Mohammadi Zadeh, added: “The support of the industry that manufactures metered dose inhalers is a crucial part of the Government’s effort to eliminate CFCs. It is important for us to recognize Sina Darou for their leadership in phasing out CFCs and for being a cheering example for other companies that still depend on ozone-depleting substances, or ODS.”

UNEP Ozone Secretariat’s Executive Secretary, Marco González, who presented an award to the Minister of Environment in recognition of Iran’s successful elimination of CFCs in the MDI sector, said: "This important milestone highlights both the proactive role of the Government and that of the Montreal Protocol as a prime example of successful international cooperation. This commemoration also sets your country as a prime example in the region."

The Director of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Branch, Sidi Si Ahmed called the Sina Darou project “a shining example of successful international cooperation between”. “A transition from CFC to non-CFC inhalers is extremely challenging for all actors as the supply of medication has to be maintained at a level which guarantees patients’ health, but at the same time, new products have to be prepared for the market in order to ensure a smooth transition without any market distortion,” he added.

In March 2008, 21 countries from South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific together with the CFC-based metered dose inhalers manufacturing industry agreed on the Langkawi Declaration on public-private partnership on phasing-out CFC-metered dose inhalers. The declaration was the first of its kind and strengthened industry-government cooperation in the smooth transition to CFC-free inhalers in Iran and in the Asia-Pacific region.

CFCs are among the ODS controlled under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. Member-states of the Montreal Protocol are required to reduce and eventually eliminate their production and consumption of ODS, including 100 per cent phase out of production and importation of CFCs by 2010 in developing countries like Iran.

The event also featured lectures by prominent physicians on the advantages of non-CFC inhalers.

On 7 September, Iran will mark the International Ozone Day.

For further information, please contact:


Ebrahim Haji-zadeh
Director of Ozone Layer Protection Unit, and National Project Manager
Environmental Research Centre, Department of Environment
Tel:  98 21 8823 3084
E-mail: info@iranozone.ir   hajitm@yahoo.com
www.iranozone.ir

Sidi Menad Si Ahmed
Director of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Branch
Tel: +43 1 26026 3782
Email

Atul Bagai
Senior Regional Coordinator
Compliance Assistance Programme, OzonAction Programme
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Thailand
Tel: +6622881662
Email