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Iran goes CFC-free:

First Asia-Pacific country to phase out CFC in the MDI sector

 

5 September 2011 - The Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), organized the Ceremonial and Awareness Meeting on the Transition to CFC-Free Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI) Products on 5 September 2011 in Tehran. The event was also organised to commemorate Sina Darou Laboratories’ closing of their manufacturing plant of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-based MDIs in 2010 and to promote ozone-friendly alternatives.

“In this event, we wanted to highlight the importance of protecting both the environment and the health of the Iranian people,” stated Dr. Vahid Dastjerdi, Minister of Health and Medical Education. The meeting targeted medical practitioners, representatives from the pharmaceutical companies, the government, international organizations and the media.

“The support of the MDI-manufacturing industry is a crucial part of the government’s effort to eliminate CFCs in MDIs,” said His Excellency Mr. Mohammadi Zadeh, Vice President and Head of the Department of Environment. “Hence, 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 of ozone-depleting substances (ODS),” he added.

“When we found out that CFCs are harmful to the ozone layer and that this chemical will be phased out under the Montreal Protocol, we decided to cooperate with the government and stop our production of CFC-based MDIs,” explained Dr. Karbasian, Manager of Sina Darou.

During the ceremony, UNEP presented the Minister of Environment an award in recognition of Iran’s successful elimination of CFCs in the MDI sector. "On this momentous occasion, I would like to commend the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran for the successful work to implement the Montreal Protocol, in particular I wish to express my recognition for the joint efforts of the Government, Sina Darou Laboratories and the international community to complete the transition to a free CFC MDI manufacturing industry in your country. This important milestone highlights both the proactive role of your 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," said UNEP Ozone Secretariat’s Executive Secretary, Marco González.

In 2007, the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund (MLF) approved funding for the conversion CFC-MDIs to alternative technologies manufactured by Sina Darou Laboratories, the only locally-owned manufacturer of MDIs in Iran. “Through the MLF assistance, a transition strategy for the phase-out of CFC based MDIs was developed by key stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, the Department of the Environment for Human Environment Affairs, the Division of Pharmaceutical and Narcotics Affairs, and Sina Darou was able to convert its production lines to an alternative blowing agent,” stated Mr. Eduardo Ganem, Deputy Chief Officer of the MLF Secretariat.

CFCs have a wide variety of uses, including as propellant in MDIs used by patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “Worldwide, there are over 300 million people with asthma and at least as many people with COPD, who may face changes with the transition from CFC-based inhalers to CFC-free MDIs,” said Dr. Helen Tope, Co-Chair of the Montreal Protocol Medical Technical Options Committee (MTOC). “But we want patients and the entire medical community to be reassured that CFC-free MDIs are just as good, or even better, in terms of effectiveness,” added Dr. Tope.

“The Sina Darou project is a shining example of successful international cooperation between the governmental bodies (Ministries of Environment and Health of Iran), United Nations Organizations, in particular UNIDO and UNEP, as implementing agencies of the project, and industry as equipment and technology provider. A transition from CFC to non-CFC MDIs is extremely challenging for all actors as 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. As a result of this project, Iran has completely phased out CFCs in the manufacturing of MDIs in the country. Through the project, completed in 2010, Sina Darou produced the first batches of new Hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-based MDI products,” stated Mr. Si-Ahmed, Director of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Branch.

“Iran is committed to fulfilling its obligations to the international community in eliminating CFCs in MDIs,” shared Mr. Atul Bagai, UNEP Senior Regional Coordinator. In March 2008, 21 countries from South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific together with the CFC-based MDI manufacturing industry agreed on the Langkawi Declaration on Public-Private Partnership on Phasing-out CFC Metered Dose Inhalers. According to Mr. Bagai, “The declaration was the first of its kind which we believe strengthened industry-government cooperation in the smooth transition to CFC-free MDIs here in Iran and Asia-Pacific.”

“These accomplishments of the Islamic Republic of Iran were brought about by close collaboration of the industry sector, healthcare authorities, medical society, implementing agencies, and the government,” claimed Dr. Ebrahim Haji-zadeh, Director of the Ozone Layer Protection Unit. “In addition, information sharing and cooperation with other countries were very helpful in this transition,” he said.

Under its south-south cooperation programme, UNEP organized the visit of Iran’s Ozone Layer Protection Unit to India to observe and learn from the CFC-based MDI phase out experience of CIPLA, the largest pharmaceutical company producing MDIs in India.

CFCs are among the ODS controlled under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Member-states of Montreal Protocol are required to reduce and eventually eliminate their production and consumption of ODS, including 100% phase out of production and importation of CFCs by 2010 in developing countries like Iran. In 2010, Iran withdrew its essential use nomination for the year 2011 during the 22nd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

The MDI Ceremonial and Awareness Meeting also featured lectures from prominent and experienced physicians on the advantages of using non-CFC MDIs and launch the MDI awareness campaign for the practitioners, doctors and nurses. Following the event are two other activities related to the protection of the ozone layer and implementation of the Montreal Protocol in the country: the inception meeting on the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) of Iran on 6 September and the celebration of International Ozone Day on 7 September.

For further information please contact:

Islamic Republic of Iran
Dr. Ebrahim Haji-zadeh
Director of Ozone Layer Protection Unit, and
National Project Manager
Environmental Research Center,
Department of Environment
Pardisan Park, Hakim Highway, Tehran, Iran
P.O. Box 14665/159, Tehran, IRAN 1463919111
Tel:  98 21 8823 3084
Fax: +98 21 8823 3083
E-mail: info@iranozone.ir, hajitm@yahoo.com
URL: http://www.iranozone.ir

Dr. Mitra Farahaninik
Assistant of Drug Quality Assessment and Registration Office
Ministry of Health and Medical Education
Division of Pharmaceutical & Narcotics Office
Tehran 1314715311, Iran
Tel: 98 21 66405626
Fax: 98 21 66469142
Email: mrfnik@yahoo.com

UNIDO
Mr. Sidi Menad Si Ahmed
Director
Montreal Protocol Branch
Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO-ONUDI)
Tel: +43 1 26026 3782
Fax: +43 1 26026 6804
Email: S.Si-Ahmed@unido.org , H.siaw@unido.org

UNEP - Regional Office for Asia and Pacific
Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer
United Nations Environment Programme
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
UN Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200,
Thailand Tel:+ 662 288 2127
Email: satwant.kaur@unep.org

Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator
Compliance Assistance Programme
OzonAction Programme UNEP Regional Office for
Asia and Pacific UN Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200,
Thailand Tel: +6622881662 Email: atul.bagai@unep.org

NOTES TO EDITORS:

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its mandate is to promote and accelerate sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition, and work towards improving living conditions in the world's poorest countries by drawing on its combined global resources and expertise. In recent years, UNIDO has assumed an enhanced role in the global development agenda by focusing its activities on poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. Their services are based on two core functions: as a global forum, we generate and disseminate industry-related knowledge; as a technical cooperation agency, we provide technical support and implement projects.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Created in 1972, UNEP represents the United Nations’ environmental conscience. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, its mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics - based in Paris - helps governments, local authorities and decision-makers in business and industry to develop and implement policies and practices focusing on sustainable development. The Division leads UNEP's work in the areas of climate change, resource efficiency, harmful substances and hazardous waste.

Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989. Since then, it has undergone five revisions, in 1990 (London), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international cooperation "Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date...”

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