Aaj English TV

Tuesday, July 23, 2024  
17 Muharram 1446  

New tax on over 200 medical instruments set to drive up healthcare costs

Experts warned first-ever sale tax on diagnosis and treatment will escalate cost to 25% to 30%
Photo via Facebook
Photo via Facebook

The federal government has imposed a sales tax on over 200 medical devices, including equipment for procedures like angiography and angioplasty, as well as diagnostic kits for various diseases.

This new tax, introduced as part of the 2024-25 fiscal budget, is expected to significantly impact the affordability of healthcare, especially for poorer patients.

Experts warn that this first-ever sales tax on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases will increase healthcare costs by 25% to 30%. The tax will also severely impact the budgets of public hospitals, leading to a notable reduction in routine operations, angiographies, and angioplasties.

The poor and middle classes who rely on private hospitals will be directly affected by the higher costs.

The Chairman of the Healthcare Devices Association of Pakistan, Masood Ahmed, stated that the federal government has imposed sales tax on all imported medical devices and diagnostic kits.

The association has written to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, requesting the removal of the sales tax, warning that it will make treatment unaffordable for the poor in private hospitals.

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Similarly, the former provincial health minister and President of the Private Hospitals and Clinics Association, Dr. Syed Junaid Ali Shah, stated that the 15% sales tax on diagnostic kits will severely burden patients, especially the poor.

In an emergency meeting, the association demanded that healthcare providers be granted industry status, arguing that healthcare is a necessity, not a luxury.

The article also mentions that the Sindh government has introduced a 15% tax on medical services, which is expected to add to the financial burden on patients who predominantly rely on private healthcare providers.

This move has sparked condemnation from doctors’ organizations, educationists, and economists, who argue that such measures could hinder investment in human capital.

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