First generic medicines factory being set up in Afghanistan

Public-private partnership equips Afghan population to produce safe and effective generic medicines

Medicines production equipment arrives in Kabul

Kabul, July 5, 2005 - Today the donated production machinery for a newly constructed generic medicines factory named "Baz International Pharmaceutical Company Ltd." arrived in Kabul. It will be the first medicine plant built in Afghanistansince the civil unrest. About 300 million to 400 million tablets of urgently needed medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics will be produced each year. Production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2005. The locally produced generic medicines will significantly improve the availability of safe, effective and affordable medication in the country.

The "Afghan Generic Medicines Project" brings together private and public partners. The project was launched in 2002 by the Swiss non-profit organization Business Humanitarian Forum (BHF), the Brussels-based European Generic Medicines Association (EGA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Office in Afghanistan. Deutsche Post World Net joined the project with its express and logistics subsidiary DHL to provide comprehensive support by organizing the logistics of the donated machinery and training of the local staff in storage and delivery methods. The project is being co-financed by DEG - Deutsche Investitions - und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, one of Europe's largest development finance institutes, with funds from the Public-Private Partnership Programme of the German federal government. The plant will be fully Afghan-owned and managed by Dr. Karim Baz, an experienced local doctor.

The project's primary goal is to construct a pharmaceutical plant in Kabul to provide safe and effective generic medicines to the Afghan population. Currently, one-quarter of all Afghan children die before the age of 5, often from treatable infectious diseases due to the lack of proper medication. Approximately 40 local employees will be taught basic operating skills and production technology to allow them to be self-sufficient.

The plant's equipment and materials, as well as pharmaceutical expertise and training are being donated by the European Generic Medicines Association (EGA), the official body representing roughly 500 pharmaceutical companies from the generic medicines industry in Europe. In September 2005, 14 Afghan technicians will be trained in EGA member companies in Europe in order to start production in Afghanistanby the end of 2005.

The BHF is responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of this project in cooperation with Dr. Baz. The BHF provides this support from its offices in Switzerlandand from its field office in Kabul. In addition, the BHF is providing support in finding appropriate operations and management staff for the factory, developing a marketing plan, and providing overall business advisory services to Dr. Baz.

DHL used its core competencies in multi-modal transportation and logistics as well as customs and export regulations to deliver the shipments. The production machinery was shipped to the United Arab Emiratesand has been flown by two cargo planes to its final destination in Kabul. DHL has also committed to additional post-delivery activities related to the logistics of distributing the medicines once the plant is operational. DHL provides its logistical know-how in ensuring an appropriate and efficient delivery of the medication to hospitals and pharmaceutical outlets. In addition, DHL will safeguard effective training. DHL began its operations in Afghanistanin 2002 and now has three office locations in Bagram, Kabuland Kandahar.

The project Partners BHF, EGA and Deutsche Post World Net have signed a two-year public-private partnership agreement with DEG. Ever since the launch of the government sponsored PPP Programme in 1999, DEG has co-financed over 350 of these projects, especially in the fields of environment and qualification.

All partners have reaffirmed their continuing commitment to the project beyond the completion of the plant to ensure the storage and transportation of the medicines once production begins.

Pictures of the arrival of the equipment in Kabulare available by emailing or calling 070 152874.

Press contacts:

Business Humanitarian Forum (BHF)
Brigitte Scherrer
Phone: +41 (0)43 333 03 62 or +93-(0)70 16 27 94

Deutsche Post World Net
Stefanie Danne
Phone: +49 (0)228-182 9944

Anja Strautz
Phone: +49 (0)221-4986 1474

European Generic Medicines Association (EGA)
Roy L. Gentry
Phone: +32 (0) 2 736 84 11 F: +32 (0) 2 736 74 38

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Emma Sutcliffe
Phone : +93 (0)70 15 28 74