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Healthcare Resource Guide: Pakistan

 

Pakistan Statistics


Summary
Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process Barriers
Trade Events

CS Contact

Capital: Islamabad

Population: 200 Million

GDP*: $988.2 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 increase in their responsibilities but is still deficient in health workforce and facilities relative to the size of the population.

The private sector is also playing a vital role for the delivery of health care services in Pakistan. The majority of private hospitals, clinics and health related facilities are in the urban areas and are well equipped with modern diagnostic facilities. These Private health care options are in greater demand than the care available through the public sector.

The public health sector services are provided at federal, provincial and district levels through a well-established network of rural health centers, basic health units and allied medical professionals. 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 1201 hospitals, BHUs 5518, Maternity & Child Health Centers 731 and TB centers 347. Despite an elaborate and extensive health infrastructure, health care delivery suffers from some key issues like the high population growth, uneven distribution of health professionals, deficient workforce, insufficient funding and limited access to quality health care services.

                         

Market Entry

U.S. medical equipment and products are usually well-received in Pakistan and are known for their quality and durability. One strategy for U.S. manufacturers and suppliers to penetrate the Pakistan market is to utilize the benefits of the network services and programs of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Centers (USEAC), in association with the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and the U.S. Consulates in Karachi and Lahore.

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 to cover this market such as Dubai, Singapore, or London. It is comparatively easy to switch agents and distributors in Pakistan 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 letter of credit as a mode of payment for imports. Furthermore, procurement decision in government follow a tendering process and is time consuming, while it is swifter in the private hospitals.

U.S. firms are also encouraged to consider the International Company Profile (ICP) service offered by the U.S. Commercial Service. Through this service, the U.S. Commercial Service office in Pakistan can provide a comprehensive background check on any local firm operating in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and beyond. U.S. firms can apply for this service through any of the U.S Export Assistance Centers located in their region. A complete list of USEACs is available on the following website: https://www.export.gov/services

Current Market Trends

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

Main Competitors

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

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

Registration Process

Pakistan’s Drug Regulatory Authority has issued new medical device and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) regulatory requirements, which are known as the Medical Devices Rules of 2015. According to the new rules, a Medical Device Board has been established, The Board is responsible for the registration of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), licensing of manufacturing units and registration of medical devices. The board also regulates import and export of devices. For more details and guidelines, please visit: http://www.dra.gov.pk/Home/MedicalDevices

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. In particular, 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 a 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 is 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

 

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

Trade Events

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

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Name:       Ayan Ali Khan       

Position:    Commercial Specialist      

Email:        Ayanali.khan@trade.gov

Phone:        +92-51-201-4264     

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.

Market Size

Healthcare spending (including investment)

 

... as percent of GDP: 0.91 %

 

Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:

Number of hospitals

1300

…Public

1201

…Private

99

Number of hospital beds

123394

... available beds per capita

6 beds / 10,000 population

Number of surgical procedures

454 per 100,000 population per year

...of which: Alimentary tract

 

...of which: Urinary tract

 

Physicians

8 / 10,000 population

...of which surgeons

5.53 / 100,000 population

Dentists

18333

Demographics

Population

200 million

Life expectancy men/women

66 years

Infant mortality

54 deaths / 1000 live births

Percent of population older than 65

4.49 percent of the total population

...projection, 2030

 

Annual deaths

6.4 deaths/1000 population

...caused by: Heart disease

 

...caused by: Cancer

 

Prevalence of: Diabetes

 


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