Iraq – With no controls on costs -Iraqis say they are denied health services and medicine
Source: A24 in Baghdad
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
Most Iraqis can not afford the high prices of medications and medical supplies, as well as the soaring cost of medical services provided in private clinics and hospitals.
The Syndicate of Iraqi Pharmacists’ tried to set specific prices for local and imported medications but failed to sway traders who control imports and maintain monopolies on locally manufactured medications.
The decreasing currency value of the Iraqi dinar results in increased prices for imported medications, as well as raw materials used by the local pharmaceutical industry.
A24 interviewed dismayed patients and doctors who slammed the government’s inability to control the pricing of medications and provide essential drugs at government hospitals especially harming the poor and those with chronic diseases.
Doctor Abdul Sattar Hammadi told A24 that Iraq’s healthcare sector is more of a trade and investment opportunity for some than a resource to sustain the lives of the many.
– Soundbite (Abdul Sattar Hammadi – Doctor):
“We need price controls and laws to help lighten the burdens of citizens, especially in relation to medical services, surgeries, and examinations. This would require effective procedures and follow-up. The current situation resembles what Iraq went through after 2003, when the healthcare sector became a trade and investment for many outsiders. Doctors whose fees are high, mainly rely on advertising, although advertising is prohibited in the healthcare sector.”
– Soundbite (Ali Luqman – Iraqi citizen):
“Medications are very expensive, and citizens are not able to afford them. Government hospitals do not provide medications or medical services, so citizens are forced to go to private pharmacies, but poor citizens can not afford the high costs of the private sector.”
– Soundbite (Omar Adel – Iraqi citizen):
“Medications are very expensive in private pharmacies and the private sector, as there are no price controls. There is no supervision or accountability. Every pharmacy sets its own prices, and there are no unified prices set by the syndicate.”