Pakistan is on the verge of a healthcare crisis as banks are refusing to accept or process letters of credit (LCs) for importing x-ray films, which are essential in medical diagnostics.
Hospitals are already running dangerously low on x-ray films, which are utilized in operating rooms as well as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
A representative from Fujifilm Pakistan, the country’s top provider of medical x-ray films, revealed that the sector only has 20-30 days’ worth of supply available, after which hospitals will be unable to conduct diagnoses.
He further stated that approximately a month’s supply of material is now stranded in docks or at sea and must be released as quickly as possible.
The official added that the annual demand for medical x-ray films is $20 million, or $1.6 million each month, and asked the government to act before the crisis unfolds.
He is concerned that the shortfall might lead to smuggling, resulting in a $550,000 monthly loss of federal revenue. As per the report, a minimum of $1 million in LCs is necessary each month to keep the facilities running.
X-ray images are considered the first line of defense, including broken bones, and pulmonary x-rays for pneumonia, and Covid-19. They are used to assess the extent of procedures in operating rooms, as well as in radiology and emergency rooms.
The market size of x-ray film is around 3,500,000 square meters, which amounts to almost 100,000 treatments in hospitals throughout the country every day
There are only five factories in the world that produce medical x-ray films due to economies of scale.