As commercial banks are unable to open letters of credit (LCs) for the import of x-ray films in the future—which are utilized every day for almost every medical diagnosis—a healthcare crisis may develop in Pakistan.
According to a representative from Fujifilm Pakistan, a significant provider of medical x-ray films in the nation, the limited supply of the remaining films, which are used for computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, strengthens the assumption that a healthcare crisis is imminent.
Hospitals will run out of films after that, making diagnosis impossible, according to him. “The industry has only 20 to 30 days’ worth of inventories,” he claimed. Around a month’s worth of stock was stranded in the ports or on the high seas, which needed to be cleared as soon as possible, he continued.
The official encouraged the government to take action before things worsened and added that “medical x-ray films have an annual import need of $20 million or $1.6 million in a month.” He added the following: “Government hospitals are currently requesting stock supplies. While awaiting LCs to dispatch the orders, our suppliers are prepared with the necessary stock.”
He stated that “the scenario could lead to smuggling that would defraud the government of taxes” while expressing his grave concern about the potential shortages.
“The government is losing revenue of approximately $550,000 per month,” he was quoted as saying. The source maintained that a “minimum of $1 million in LCs was required every month to keep the hospitals running.”
Among other crucial diagnoses like bone fractures and chest x-rays for pneumonia or COVID, X-ray images are utilized to identify physical injuries. The movies are watched in operating rooms to establish the scope of an operation.
Around 3,500,000 square meters are thought to be the size of the x-ray market, which equates to almost 100,000 exposures per day in hospitals across the nation.
In Pakistan, where there are about 7,500 government and commercial hospitals and clinics, all of the medical x-ray films that are needed are imported from China, Europe, Japan, and the USA.
Due to Pakistan’s declining foreign reserves and present economic situation, banks were forced to be picky when creating LCs, especially for industries like healthcare.