Annually Afghanistan spends more than one billion dollars on medicine and medical equipment to be imported to the country.
According to the Directorate of Pharmaceutical Affairs and official statistics, Afghans spend an average of $400 million worth of medicine on an annual basis, mostly imported from Pakistan and India.
Afghanistan Association of Industries said that if the government had focused its attention and investment in the field of medicine and the production of medicine 13 years ago the country would have not spent half of what they spend outside for medical purposes.
"Unfortunately, in the past 13 years the government has done nothing to invest in the medical arena," Director of Afghanistan Industries Association Sakhi Ahmad Paiman said. "Majority of the medicine imported into the country can be produced in Afghanistan," adding that there is 20 small companies that produce medicine in the country.
Officials at the Directorate of Pharmaceutical Affairs call the lack of government support for pharmacists and the lack of land for factories the main reasons for the fall back in medical production.
"The money that goes abroad for medicines are the same medicines that can be produced in Afghanistan," Abdul Hafeez Quraishi, Gen. Director of the Directorate of Pharmaceutical Affairs at the Ministry of Public Health, said. "Our main problem in Kabul is the absence of industrial parks for medicine production. Medicine cannot be produced in the same area as other companies and factories."
Currently, with over 10,000 pharmaceutical companies, India is among the largest producer of medicine in the world, second being Pakistan and Iran with over 5,000 pharmaceutical companies.
With lack of infrastructure, Afghanistan has been fallen dependent on its neighboring countries for medicine and medical equipment.