Healthcare Resource Guide: Pakistan

Updated November 2019

 

Pakistan Statistics

Summary

Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process

Barriers

Procurement & Tenders

Trade Events

Best Prospects

Statistics

CS Contact

Capital: Islamabad

Population: 207 Million

GDP*: $290 Billion

Currency: Pakistani Rupee

Language: Urdu, English


Summary
                              

In Pakistan, public and private health care systems run in parallel. The public sector, led by the Ministry of Health until recently, has deferred to the provinces for issuance of healthcare to the general population. The administrative and fiscal space of provinces has increased manifold with simultaneous increases in their responsibilities, however they remain deficient in health workforce and facilities, relative to the size of the population.

The private sector plays a vital role in the delivery of healthcare services in Pakistan. Most private hospitals, clinics, and health related facilities are in urban areas and are well-equipped with modern diagnostic facilities. These private healthcare options are in greater demand than healthcare available through the public sector.

The public sector health services are provided at federal, provincial, and district levels through a well-established network of rural health centers, basic health units (BHU), and allied medical professionals. The health profile of Pakistan is characterized by high population growth. The rising population pressure on state health institutions has allowed the private sector to bridge the gap of rising demand and limited public health facilities.

Public health activities have persistently increased in terms of physical infrastructure and workforce, including increased numbers of doctors, dentists, and nurses. National health infrastructure is comprised of 1279 hospitals, 5527 BHUs, 747 Maternity & Child Health Centers, and 1400 TB centers. Despite an elaborate and extensive health infrastructure, health care delivery suffers from some key issues such as, high population growth, uneven distribution of health professionals, deficient workforce, insufficient funding, and limited access to quality healthcare services.                         

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Market Entry

Medical equipment and products from the United States (U.S.) are usually well-received in Pakistan and are known for their quality and durability.

Seeking the assistance of USEACs before exploring opportunities in this market is highly encouraged. It is recommended that U.S. firms, from the very outset, work with locally-registered firms to help navigate a complex business culture. U.S. firms are encouraged to review the following website www.export.gov/pakistan

Many foreign manufacturers and suppliers appoint one or more agents/distributors to cover the entire country. At times, foreign principals work through a regional office in Dubai, Singapore, or London. It is comparatively easy to switch agents and distributors in Pakistan, as per agreed terms in contract, without being exposed to legal liability.

Price and after-sales service support are major aspects of a decision-making process. It is always recommended to keep a letter of credit as a mode of payment for imports. Procurement decisions in government follow a tendering process, which is time consuming. Comparatively, it is swifter in private hospitals.

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Current Market Trends

While the growth of the public health sector is limited by budget constraints, the relatively fast-growing private sector health services have provided good opportunities for U.S. suppliers of medical devices.

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Main Competitors

Main competitors are European, Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean products

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Current Demand

  • Diagnostic imaging equipment
  • Lab equipment, diagnostic point-of-care tests
  • Laser surgery devices
  • Cyberknife system
  • Implantable cardiac devises, neurostimulation systems
  • Dental equipment and materials
  • Orthopedics and prosthetics
  • Mobile hospitals and ambulances

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Registration Process

Pakistan’s Drug Regulatory Authority has issued new medical device and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) regulatory requirements, otherwise known as the Medical Devices Rules of 2017. According to the new rules, role of assessment and evaluation of medical devices would be performed by a Medical Devices Board. The process of registration of medical devices has been relaxed, while the fee structure has also been revised. Technical documentation requirements for registration of medical devices have been minimized, if imported from reference countries including the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia. For more details and guidelines, please visit: http://dra.gov.pk/Home/DownloadsAllDocs

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Barriers

Principal competitors of U.S. businesses in Pakistan are Chinese, European, Japanese, and South Korean suppliers. At times, they offer credit terms that can make it difficult for U.S. suppliers to compete on major projects or government tenders. State-owned Chinese firms are increasingly expanding into market segments traditionally dominated by Western firms.

Pakistanis generally consider U.S. goods more expensive compared to those of competitors and have a belief that U.S. firms often do not move quickly enough to meet demand. However, American products are well regarded for their perceived quality, and some U.S. firms overcome these challenges by shipping goods to Pakistan from regional operations.

Potential investors in Pakistan face many of the same challenges that exist in other developing economies such as regulatory risk and lack of transparency in public-sector decision-making. Pakistan is a diverse and challenging market, requiring adaptability and persistence. It is often difficult to sell in this market without a reliable local partner, thus choosing the right local partners and careful planning are critical to success. U.S. firms willing to invest time to develop market presence should expect to be rewarded in the long-term.

Corruption and a weak judicial system have been cited as further substantial disincentives for foreign companies. Contract enforcement can be difficult for U.S. and other foreign investors in Pakistan. Parties pursuing legal remedies in the Pakistani judicial system may face significant delays and unpredictable outcomes in the country’s overloaded courts. Lack of enforcement of the court’s rulings is also a significant problem. 

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Procurement & Tenders

Details about government tenders may be obtained from: http://www.ppra.org.pk/

Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination: http://www.nhsrc.gov.pk/

Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan:

www.dra.gov.pk

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Trade Events

Health & Pharma trade show: http://health-asia.com/

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Best Prospects

The most promising sub-sectors in the healthcare and medical equipment sector are:

  • Respirators
  • Cancer Diagnostics
  • Medical Imaging
  • Electro Medical Equipment
  • Orthopedic and Prosthetic Appliances
  • Medical and Surgical Instruments
  • Ophthalmic Instruments and Appliances
  • Orthodontic Equipment’s and Dental Implants
  • Point of Care Testing (POCT) Diagnostic devices

The sub-sector of health IT also presents growing opportunities for US suppliers of IT and electronic health record software. Telemedicine and medical tourism are other areas where there is a gap and holds good prospect for the US companies.

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Statistical Snapshot

Market Size

Healthcare spending (including investment)

 

... as percent of GDP:

0.97 %

Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:

Number of hospitals

1,979

…Public

1,279

…Private

700

Number of hospital beds

132,227

... available beds

1 beds / 1,608 persons

Number of surgical procedures per year

454 per 100,000 population

Physicians

1 / 963 persons

Dentists

1 / 9,413 persons

Demographics

Population

207 million

Life expectancy men/women

66.6 years

Infant mortality

61.2 deaths/ 1,000 live births

Percent of population older than 65

3.5 %

...projection, 2030

 

Annual deaths

7.5 deaths/1,000 population

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U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Name:       Ayan Ali Khan       

Position:    Commercial Specialist      

Email:        Ayanali.khan@trade.gov

Phone:        +92-51-201-4264     

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