The Bangladesh pharmaceutical market is growing rapidly and has almost doubled over the last five years. Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry is domi- nated by the local pharma companies and they hold
the major market share. The local manufacturers are mainly
involved in the production of generic drugs, thus the generic
drugs rule the Bangladesh pharma market. Bangladesh is
emerging as a potential pharma hub as the pharma companies
are investing in developing their new state of art manufacturing
facilities for producing quality drugs for exporting to the developed nations. This article will discuss about the booming potential, strength & weakness, regulations, export strength and position of MNCs in Bangladesh pharmaceutical market.
The Bangladesh pharma industry contributes to 1% of GDP
and it is the third largest tax paying industry in the country.
The main focus of pharmaceutical firms is on branded generic
final formulations using imported APIs. The pharmaceutical
market in Bangladesh is insignificant when compared to the
population size as they lack spending power. The total healthcare expenditures accounts to just 3.4% of GDP (6%).
The pharmaceutical industry has made significant progress
after the enactment of the National Drug Policy in 1982. Ever
year pharmaceutical export is increasing at a higher pace, contributing prominently to the GDP of the country. Pharma sector
is the second largest potential sector in terms of foreign currency for Bangladesh.
POTENTIAL OF BANGLADESH PHARMA SECTOR
There are about 191 registered pharmaceutical companies
currently operating in Bangladesh. The products manufactured
by these companies are meeting 97% of the domestic require-
ment. Certain vaccines, anticancer products, hematological
products, biotech products are imported. Bangladesh pharma-
ceutical industry is dominated by the local pharma companies
and they hold 87% of the market share. The domestic market is
highly concentrated and competitive and the top 15 companies
hold about 77% of the market share.
The pharma companies are now entering into the highly regulated markets like USA and Europe. Many pharma companies
have invested huge amounts in developing their new state of art
manufacturing facilities. The primary focus of the Bangladesh
local manufacturers is on branded generic final formulations using imported APIs. About 85% of the drugs sold in Bangladesh
are generics and 15% are patented drugs. Bangladesh manufactures about 450 generic drugs for 5300 registered brands which
have 8,300 different forms of dosages and strengths. These
include anti-ulcerants, anti-rheumatic non-steroid drugs, nonnarcotic analgesics, antihistamines, oral anti-diabetic drugs.etc.
Some big firms (Ex: Beacon Pharma) also started to produce
anti-cancer and anti-retroviral drugs.
SOURCING OF APIS, RAW MATERIALS AND
Bangladesh API capacity is insignificant, pharmaceutical companies import approximately 80% of their APIs. Approximately
75-80% of the imported APIs are generic and 20-25% is patented.
Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical manufacturing is not backward-integrated, hence most APIs have to be imported, and even if
the API is manufactured in Bangladesh, the raw materials need
to be imported. This results in high production costs, especially
in cases where the provider of the API is a competitor in selling
the finished product. Building up backwards-integration for all
Pharma CMOs in Bangladesh
Looking beyond Indo-China
n By Saranraj Sivabushnam, Beroe Consulting