Surgical industry of Pakistan dates, back to 19th century when some British doctors got their surgical instruments repaired from the skilled workers of Sialkot and thus it laid foundation to the Sialkot Surgical Industry. The world trade in medical and surgical industry is huge which goes up to 30 billion dollar.
Although Pakistan fetches a very small share in the world trade, still the local industry possesses specialized skills and workers expertise which carry a century old experience in producing these sophisticated items. Pakistani products are sold in highly developed market of European Union and USA which are also bracketed as high income markets.
The average export price of Sialkot made surgical items is between dollar 1.5 to 2.5 (for disposable products) which is higher than the Chinese export price of USD 0.35 per item. Pakistan has no competitor in ophthalmic handheld instruments.
The city of Sialkot is very well known particularly in Europe for its surgical industry. There are around 2300 companies engaged in this industry which produce on average 150 million pieces per year with an estimated value of around Rs22 billion. Almost 95% production is export oriented. Pakistan basically produces basic disposable instruments. The growth in this industry segment is low. As compared there is demand of devises and apparatus components using computer aided electronics which are fetching higher per unit prices. Therefore the shift of emphasis in the global leading manufacturers is on high value added products.
Practically Sialkot has no competitor on basic component and most of the production from Germany has shifted to Pakistan. The result is that Pakistan produces semi-finished goods which are repackaged in Germany, Europe & USA and then sold internationally at higher prices. The very low quantity is consumed locally due to low demand by public health entities and private sector hospitals.
In fact, this Sialkot based industry has limited contacts with the local end users as they normally operate through bulk buyers/traders. Out of 2300 major companies 30 units are large integrated units. These bigger companies are technically advanced with lot of mechanization in their production processes. They have also diversified products into medical mechanized devices. Second category is of medium type of firms which are around 150 in numbers and they handle exports of above 100 million. The small units are 2000 in numbers and they handle export of up to 80 million.
The details of surgical instrument which are being exported is as under;
Instruments and appliances used in medical or veterinary sciences
Instruments and appliances, used in dental sciences
Needles, catheters, cannulae
Syringes, with or without needles
Oxygen therapy, artificial respiration/therapeutic respiration
Dentists, barbers or similar chairs and parts
Medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture and parts
Dental drill engines, whether not combi on a single base equipment
Ophthalmic drill engines, and appliances
Breathe appliances & gas masks, protective masks
Tubular metal needles and needles for sutures
Mechano-therapy application; massage app; psychological aptitude test apparatus