Bangladesh is an extremely poor country, and the disease burden reflects this. Poor sanitation and hygiene causes up to 80% of disease in Bangladesh. About 60% of children are malnourished, and rates of maternal mortality are amongst the highest in the world.
In 2000, about 80m people, or 60% of the population, do not have access to any healthcare, largely because of both highly sporadic coverage in rural areas and a low number of doctors.
Pharmaceutical spending is amongst the lowest in the world in per capita terms. The market is dominated by cheap, locally produced generic drugs used for the treatment or prevention of basic illnesses and conditions. However, the government applies tariffs of up to 8% on the active ingredients required to manufacture pharmaceuticals.
Tariffs on imported medicines have been creeping up in recent years, and on certain products they are 25%. Vaccines are tariff free.