Pakistan’s health sector is one of the many sectors that are being severely neglected by the government.
Lack of proper health facilities and rising cost of medicine is making it difficult for the general public to get better health service in Pakistan. According to the Inflation Monitor released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), prices of medicines increased by more than 15% during the month of October on a year-over-year basis
During the same month, consultation fee and cost of medical tests increased by 5.75% and 6.23%, respectively. Medical tests like blood test, X-ray, and urine test witnessed an increase of 5-10% in the month of October, as compared to the same period last year. The increase in prices of medicines was the highest increase in inflation amongst all non-food item contributors.
Pakistan imports medicines in large quantities despite producing drugs locally. As the drugs are imported, there is always the fear of exchange rate fluctuation that can increase or decrease the prices of imported drugs in accordance with the fluctuation. During the year 2016, Pakistan’s import of pharmaceutical products stood at $715.23 million, according to the database of United Nation’s COMTRADE.
While medical products witnessed a huge increase in the prices, overall inflation of the country remained at 3.8% during the month of October, largely due to the stable food prices in the country. Food inflation during the month of October came down to 2.2% only and also kept the average inflation during the first four months of the fiscal year at 3.5% only.
While food prices were stable, there were notable increases in the prices of the educational sector in which schools, colleges, and universities increased their fees ahead of the new session. Even the prices in the housing sector increased as rent value increased during the month of October as compared to the same period last year.