Low quality medicine threatening lives: Citizens

KABUL (Tolo News): Several Afghan citizens on Saturday spoke to TOLOnews with concerns over imports of low quality medicine to Afghanistan, saying that the low quality medicine threatens the lives of many patients. Shah Wali, a Badakhshan resident who brought his wife to Jamhouriat, a state-owned hospital, said: “We buy the medicine for 2,000 or 3,000 afghanis, but it does not work because the medicine is not good quality.”
Herat resident Khal Mohammad told TOLOnews that he spent more than 500,000 afghanis for the medical treatment of his wife who has been sick for a year and a half. Khal Mohammad said: “They tell us the medicine is good. No better medicine is found here. We buy it and the quality is not as good as it should be.”
Meanwhile, it is reported that a major portion of the medicine is illegally entering Afghanistan. Mohammadullah Alishingi, head of Jamhouriat Hospital, said: “Fake medicine [bad quality] enters Afghanistan. It is difficult for doctors and pharmacists to identify it.” Afghanistan spends around $400 million dollars every year to import medicine from regional countries including Iran, Pakistan, India and China, the union of medicine-importing companies said.
Officials at the union of medicine-Importing companies said that around 400 companies are importing medicine into the country. Assadullah Kakr, the union head, said only one laboratory is active and able to test the medicine’s quality. “Only one laboratory exists in Kabul, which is not enough.” Due to the minimal health services in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghans are flying abroad for medical treatment, mostly to India, Pakistan and Iran.