A number of patients say the reason that poor quality medicines are being sold in the markets is the lack of government’s attention and supervisions.
“At first, I thought hospitals cannot recognize the diseases and treat them, but now I found out that the medicines have no effects on the patients due to its poor quality,” Qand Aqa, a resident of Kabul said.
According to reports, about 90% of Afghanistan’s pharmaceutical products are imported while 40% of them are illegally imported. It is estimated that the combined value of both illegal and legal pharmaceuticals in Afghanistan is USD 700-880 million.
“This is a clear issue that there is no supervision. Medicines are imported in every way possible with poor quality,” Sami, another Kabul inhabitant asserted.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) confirms that 12 percent of medicines have low quality in the pharmacies of the country.
“Unfortunately, our borders are not secure and due to that the smugglers smuggle medicines to the country. For this reason, they are not under the control of the central government and the laboratories,” Sayed Asadullah Akhlaqi Zada, inspection officer of pharmacies said.
However, the Union of Pharmaceutical Services rejects the poor quality of medicines in the markets, saying the lack of recognizing diseases are the main reason for concerns of people.
“The main problem is reorganization of diseases. There are no standard centers. For example, three laboratories have three different results. But they put it on the low quality of medicines,” Muhammad Qasem, head of Union of Pharmaceutical Services added.
It is estimated that up to 70% of pharmaceuticals imported into Afghanistan are produced in neighboring countries, specifically for the Afghanistan market.
However, The Pharmaceutical Law deals with selection, production, importation, distribution and consumption of pharmaceutical products in the country.
But It was enacted at a time when there was significant need for pharmaceutical products in Afghanistan, which the law addressed by over-simplifying much of the importation process.
In brief, poor quality medicine and high prices in the market have created considerable challenges toward healthcare services in Afghanistan.
Years of civil war and violence has had a devastating effect on the Afghan healthcare system and unlike other countries in the region, Afghanistan has seen increasing rates of preventable diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory infections.