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FEATURE STORY

Afghanistan Sees Expansion of Domestically Produced Pharmaceuticals

September 9, 2015


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Increasing demand for Afghan pharmceuticals are creating job opportunities. Nadia works in the packaging division and along with the other four women, who receive a salary of 5,000 Afghanis per month (nearly $90).

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hundreds of enterprises including local private pharmaceutical companies are benefiting from a pilot business development program covering four urban areas inclusive of Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
  • The companies have seen a growth in business as a result of financial and technical support from the Afghanistan New Market Development Project, which is operated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries with funding support from the World Bank.
  • The project, launched in 2011, helps enterprises to increase their presence in both domestic and export markets through improvements in market knowledge, product quality, along with the development and implementation of sound business plans.

Kabul City, Afghanistan–A number of local pharmaceutical companies are at the forefront of increasing the domestic share of the lucrative pharmaceutical market in Afghanistan. In a market dominated by imported pharmaceutical products, emerging local enterprises are increasingly competitive in producing high quality health products accompanied by good customer service at affordable prices.

Local pharmaceutical companies produce a variety of medical products such as tablets, capsules, and powders, which are distributed and sold across the country. Quality assurance is a fundamental part of gaining market share. Abdul Khaliq Fahim, technical director of a pharmaceutical company based in Kabul, says that Afghan-produced medications are tightly monitored. “Afghan Health Ministry officials monitor the materials we import and how we use those materials in production,” he says.

The company Fahim works for was founded in 2012 with an initial investment of $450,000.  Recently, it received a grant of $54,000 from the Afghanistan New Market Development Project (ANMDP), operated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries with funding support from the World Bank. 


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In a market dominated by imported pharmaceutical products, emerging local enterprises are increasingly competitive in producing quality health products with high quality customer service, and at affordable prices.

 

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

" Today, domestic medications make up more than 20 percent of my sales. A couple of years ago, it was less than 10 percent. It is heartening to see this increased trust in Afghan-produced medications. "

Hasibullah

Pharmacist, Kabul City

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One of the products a pharmaceutical company produces with the support of the Afghanistan New Market Development Project (ANMDP). 

Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

The ANMDP, launched in May 2011, is a cost-sharing program to support Afghan Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and business associations with access to Business Development Services (BDS) to enhance their productive capacity and encourage innovation through product and market diversification.

The Facility for New Market Development (FNMD) as the core window through which firms access assistance, operates in four key cities of the country—Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Herat. The FNMD helps SMEs and business associations to gain market knowledge, improve product quality and processing through technology, and increase their presence in both domestic and export markets. Other FNMD supporting activities include a marketing and communications program, core-skills building workshops, and supplementary support for developing businesses plans.

Domestic medication gaining ground

Local pharmaceutical companies receiving ANMDP support are seeing a boost in revenues. Fahim’s company, for example, will see a 40 percent increase in revenue in the coming year according to him. “We received technical and financial support from the project, which we invested in purchasing syrup production and packing machinery,” he says.

Demand for Afghan medicines has increased nationally in recent years. Hasibullah, 21, a pharmacist who works in a Kabul City drugstore, says people are slowly beginning to trust the quality of Afghan medications. According to the pharmacist, physicians have been also more inclined recently to prescribe domestically produced medications, which has helped build trust in these products.

“Today, domestic medications make up more than 20 percent of my sales,” he says. “A couple of years ago, it was less than 10 percent. It is heartening to see this increased trust in Afghan-produced medications.”


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