Kuwait imposes fees on medicines for migrants
Kuwait’s Ministry of Health announced that beginning 18 December 2022, non-Kuwaiti residents are required to pay a fee of KD 5 (US$16) when purchasing medicines from pharmacies at primary health clinics and emergency rooms, and KD 10 (US$32) at outpatient clinics. The Arab Times reports that the decision has already resulted in a sharp decline in the number of migrants seeking treatment in clinics.
The new fees are in addition to the medical fees and health insurance fees that non-nationals in Kuwait already pay. In a press statement, the Ministry of Health stated that the decision aims to stop “the squandering of medical supplies, and [elevate] healthcare services.”
According to local media, the Ministry also barred dispensing a number of “key medicines to expats,” without specifying which. The move comes in the wake of the medicine supply shortages the country is currently facing.
The Ministry of Health has previously implemented exclusionary policies to the detriment of public health. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry prioritised Kuwaiti citizens for the Covid-19 vaccines. It’s not uncommon for migrants to be singled out and targeted in Kuwait as a solution to social crises. Kuwait’s government has also imposed more restrictions on issuing driving licences to foreigners as a solution to traffic congestion in the country.
Migrant-Rights.org urges Kuwait to reverse this decision and abide by Article 29 of its constitution, which guarantees equality and non-discrimination.
Updated December 28, 2022