The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that the heavy sanctions imposed of Syria by Western nations in recent years have resulted in growing shortages of a lot of medications, including cancer drugs needed for the treatment of children, which are almost exclusively imported.
It’s not that the United States and European Union are the sort of monsters who sanction cancer drugs, of course. Such imports were carefully exempted from the sanctions when they were designed and imposed. The problem is that just because imports are technically legal doesn’t mean they’re easy, or even possible.
While the sanctions don’t stop the medicine being sold or imported to Syria, the sanctions are making dealing with government-controlled health industry difficult, and financial sanctions are keeping foreign banks from processing the payments.
The sanctions are so broad, and cover contact with so many government officials, that a lot of companies are avoiding even getting into talks about imports in the first place, fearing that even trade in exempted medicine could make them targets.