Afghanistan Pharmaceutical Sector Development: Problems and Prospects - Southern Med Review Vol 4 Issue 1 April 2011
(2011; 11 pages)

Objective: To provide an up to date comprehensive overview of the Afghanistan pharmaceutical sector situation and its future development needs and priorities. Methods: The methods employed for researching and writing this paper were based on (i) structured interviews and workshop with Afghanistan pharmaceutical sector stakeholders, (ii) site visits, (iii) sector data review of relevant reports and documents, and (iv) use of sector assessment tool methodology. A full review of sector policy, regulation and management was conducted covering the complete pharmaceutical supply chain. Results: The International Donor Community (IDC) in recent years has provided major assistance for the development of the Afghanistan health sector with some tangible successes. However, for several reasons the Afghanistan pharmaceutical sub sector suffers from major deficiencies in terms of implementation of policy, regulation and management. There are significant governance, structural and capacity weaknesses at both the central and provincial level. The consequence of this has been a pharmaceutical market and supply system contaminated with substandard, falsified, counterfeit and diverted medicines. The accessibility, affordability and availability of medicines are highly variable across the country. Conclusions: Reports on the Afghanistan pharmaceutical sector have hitherto been scarce in the international literature and the quality and availability of sector data is generally low. The sector for several reasons is one of the least developed in the world, operates in a chaotic faction and suffers from many weaknesses that cover the entire spectrum of sector activities. The market presence of substandard and counterfeit medicines is likely to be significant and should be considered a public health menace demanding urgent attention. A number of sector development interventions are required to address both institutional and market weaknesses.
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