News - Afghanistan
The Medicine Importing Companies Union – a private sector union – on Sunday announced that its affiliated companies will no longer import pharmaceutical products from Pakistan in protest over the rise in suicide bombings in the country, for which Pakistan has been blamed.
The decision was reportedly immediately backed by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).
Members of the Medicine Importing Companies Union said Afghanistan imports pharmaceuticals worth $400 million USD annually.
They said that no company may now import Pakistani medicines, adding that instead they should import from India, China, Turkey and European countries – medicine that is of high quality, they say.
"We will not import Pakistani medicines anymore," said Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost, head of the union. "We are thinking about an alternative. We know about the needs of the people. We request that the companies import medicines from other countries and introduce it to local markets."
The ACCI welcomed the attempt but said the government should be cooperative to completely ban the import of Pakistani medicines.
The ACCI officials said an alternative for Pakistani medicines should be found.
"The government is hearing our voice. The only thing that we want from the government is to pave the ground to produce the products ourselves," said Khan Jan Alokozai, the ACCI deputy chief. "We hope to see the day we become self-reliant in this sector."
Meanwhile, owners of a number of medicine importing companies said they import 50 percent of medicines from Pakistan.
"Our sector is importing Pakistani medicines but after this we will implement the decision of the union," said Ahmad Jawad, a medicine importer. "We have decided to import Turkish, Chinese, and Indian medicines."