It was my first and last visit to Ali Medical Centre Islamabad (sector F-8) yesterday. First because I didn’t know how much they charge just to give an injection and last because now I know how much they do.
I know there are many people who want to know the answer to a simple question – how much does it take to get an injection in Pakistan?
We need to know whether its justified to charge Rs. 400/- for an injection? Especially at a medical establishment where you have to bring your own syringe and injection and pay for it out of your own pocket?
I ask this because this is exactly what happened with me at the Ali Medical Center in Islamabad.
My Medical Case
I’m sure many people are in the same boat as me and have to get injections periodically. You see, I’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires me to get an intramuscular injection once after every 2 days.
An intramuscular injection is just a fancy way of saying that you need a shot for a medical condition. We all get it sometime in our lives. For example we get a shot (injection) for a tetanus vaccine after an injury or accident. So it”s pretty common.
Just to educate people, there’s another way of getting your injection and that’s intravenously. This is where you see a needle placed in your vein. One common example of an intravenous injection is when we go for blood tests.
So back to the story. I’ve been getting injections for the last 5 years now. I mostly lived in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi during these years. Due to my condition I visited countless hospitals and clinics in these cities and some in the northern areas. And you know what? The cost of my injection was usually Rs. 60/- and a syringe for just Rs. 10-15.
The clinics I visited in the past mostly charge Rs. 50/- to give an injection. Some hospitals in Lahore and even some military ones did not even charge me at all, provided that the drug is purchased from their medical store.
All they ask in return is a prescription from my doctor. So I can say I paid Rs 125/- each after every 2 days for the whole thing, which includes cost of injection, syringe and getting it injected by a medical staff.
Last night I was in Islamabad and went to Ali Medical Centre Islamabad for the first time to get an injection.
I made a stupid mistake. I didn’t even ask them how much it was going to cost me prior to getting an injection.
From now on I made a mental note to myself to always ask how much is it going to be charged and to never assume hospital charges based on experience of other hospitals.
After getting the injection I went to ER counter to pay my bill. I was astonished to learn that I was charged Rs. 400/- for the whole thing.
After some polite discussion with the accountant I asked to see any doctor on call to discuss the matter. A doctor was present and so I talked with him. I was informed by him that it was an administrative issue and he can’t do anything about it.
I went to the hospital administrator to discuss this issue. I found him to be a very reasonable man who acknowledged that this behavior was indefensible. Perhaps he had worked at other hospitals and knew what they charged for an injection.
So long story short, the manager provided me a complaint form and informed that the hospital management is receiving many complaints regarding this very issue.
Upon further inquiry I also got to know that Ali Medical charges Rs. 380/- just to check your blood pressure. Now here’s why I mention this – getting your blood pressure checked is mostly free in many hospitals including in many pharmaceutical stores.
Thankfully during this month of Ramzan, my blood pressure remains within range and that too without any medicine. Fasting helped in this regard and therefore I saw no need to get it checked at Ali Medical Centre. Otherwise by I would’ve been paying them a further Rs. 380!
It was time to do a little research and see if other hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi charged the same thing.
Here’s what I found what the other hospitals were charging for an injection:
- Ali Medical center Islamabad – Rs 400/-
- Maroof International Hospital Islamabad – Rs. 220/-
- Shifa international hospital Islamabad – (they don’t give injection on outside prescription)
- Maryam Memorial Hospital – Rs. 50/-
- Nusrat Hospital – Rs. 50/-
- Heart international hospital Rawalpindi – Rs. 30/-
- Bilal Hospital Rawalpindi – Free
So fellow readers, I ask you this. Do you think it is justified to charge Rs. 400/- for just giving an injection? I was never asked to pay more than Rs. 50/- by any hospital of Lahore or Karachi.
How much does getting an injection cost you in your city? Let us and your fellow readers know in the comments below.