Medicine Affordability and Accessibility: A Case of Low and Middle-Income Group of Gujranwala District
Keywords:Medicine, Prices, Income, Affordability, Availability, Medicine Prices, District
In Pakistan, around two-thirds population is away from essential medicines because of the higher prices prevalent in the private sector and the low availability of medicines in the public sector (WHO, Health profile of Pakistan). High out-of-pocket payments on medicines increase the burden on poor households. Using the World Health Organization and Health Action International methods, a survey of 50 medications was undertaken in District Gujranwala of the Punjab, Pakistan, to assess drug availability and affordability status. The findings reveal that medicine availability is deficient in public sector hospitals, which are the primary source of free medicines for the public, while the availability is high in the private sector. Poor households have to face serious financial issues because of the higher prices. Therefore, the government needs to ensure the availability of medicines in the public sector through efficient procurement. To reduce the prices of medicines in the private sector, the government must promote low-price generic medicines and set a price cap for essential medicines.
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