Demonstrating the spectacular growth of the generics industry, the European Generics Association this morning revealed a public-private partnership to establish the first generic medicines factory in Afghanistan.

Equipment for the new company, to be named Baz International, has already arrived in Kabul and will become the first medicines plant to be built in the country since the civil unrest. The factory will have capacity to manufacture 300-400 million tablets of urgently-needed medicines – including antibiotics and painkillers – every year, with production scheduled to begin in October. Access to safe, effective and affordable medication in Afganistan is at desperate levels, with one-quarter of all Afghan children dying before the age of 5, often from treatable infectious diseases.

The private-public partnership sees the EGA joining forces with the Swiss Business Humanitarian Forum and the United Nations Development Programme, and will be co-funded by the German financial institute, DEG, and a German federal government programme. The plant will be fully Afghan-owned, however, and managed by local doctor Karim Baz with approximately 40 local employees to be trained in basic operating skills.