In Low-Middle Income Countries (LMICs), according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 28 million people die every year from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Moreover, the LMICs represent almost 75% of deaths resulted from NCD’s globally, the rate of which is growing at an alarming rate in these countries. 

In Pakistan, over 52% males and 53% females, under the age of 70 die of NCD’s every year. However, the reason to this situation is the unavailability of affordable medicines required for the treatment of these diseases, in the country. 

Given that the majority of people in our country belong to low-income households hence they cannot afford medicines for a considerably longer period, which is why many patients tend to skip or delay treatment owing to high medication costs. 

It is reassuring to know, that now attention is being paid to ensure the access of medicines in countries like Pakistan. For instance, a leading Swiss pharmaceutical company has recently launched a worldwide program that primarily focuses on affordability and availability of the 15 most commonly prescribed medicines , used in the treatment of diabetes, breast cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Being offered as a basket at a price of US$ 1 per treatment per month, this access to subsidized essential medicines will serve as a beacon of hope for millions residing in poor countries. 

In the healthcare sector, this marks the ‘first of its kind’ portfolio approach, aimed at increasing the availability and affordability of medicines that are frequently prescribed for treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases. 

This initiative is commendable in its approach and sets an example for other pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers to come forth and improve quality of life in countries like ours. 

KASHIF MUSTAFA QADRI,  

Karachi, August 18.