Local drug industry on brink of collapse

Herat drug union says the newly established drug industry is on the brink of bankruptcy as local drug manufactures cannot compete in the open Afghan drug market which imports medicines from neighboring Iran, Pakistan and India. High price of domestically manufactured drugs and lack of public trust in them are two of the many reasons that have led to slowdown in the business.                 

Authorities in drug regulatory office, however, say a large quantity of imported medicines are of very low quality.

Every year, over USD 10, 000,000 are invested in drug manufacturing business in Herat while drug manufacturing industry is on the verge of collapse as medicines—illegally imported from neighboring countries—are overlapping the drug market in Afghanistan.       

Avison Pharma, a drug manufacturer in Herat, has been producing medicines for the last 8 years, and over 70 people are working in this drug manufacturing company.  According to Abdul Karim Shirzad, the founder and owner of Avison Pharma, his factory produces 70 different types of drugs. He, however, underlines his business is close to bankruptcy as drugs—illegally imported from Pakistan and Iran—have manipulated the market.

 “We invested over USD 8 million to establish the factory but large amount of low-quality drugs are imported illegally from Pakistan and Iran without being taxed. These drugs are mostly imported under the name of vegetables and fruits” he said.  

Rampant corruption in custom offices has given a ripe opportunity to drug mafia who pour a large quantity of medicines to drug market in the country.    

Abdul Hakim Tamana, the Head of Directorate of Public Health in Herat says the government should take measure to stop illegal import of drug. Herat drug union assures that they can manufacture 70 types of medicines if the government and people support them.

Sayed Khalil Qattali, the deputy head of Herat Directorate of Industries and Mines, said if the government throws its support behind local drug manufacturers and curb illegal business of drugs, more investors will be encouraged to invest in the industry.

No trust in domestically manufactured drugs

According to the country’s health authorities local drug manufacturers are working under the supervision of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health. Abdul Hakim Tamana, the head of Herat Directorate of Public Health says, “There is nothing to be concerned about; our people can confidently use the domestic production. I am sure the quality of drugs produced in Afghanistan are far better than Pakistani and Iranian medicines.”

Mahdi Hadid, an ex-member of provincial council in Herat, said drugs manufactured in Afghanistan should be advertised. He believes domestic drug industries will not progress unless both the nation and the government do not throw their supports behind the industry.

Many Afghans, however, have no trust in quality of drugs manufactured in Afghanistan.