Indian pharma seeks land to invest $30m
Rahul Pharma, an Indian medicine maker, is keen on investing in Bangladesh to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).
Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), told The Daily Star that the Indian company gave Beza a proposal early this month on investing $30 million to produce API.
The company sought 30 acres of land at Mirsarai Economic Zone to build an industrial unit, he said.
The company representatives met him on three times this month to explain their investment plan.
Chowdhury said, “We are always positive to receive this type of proposal…I mean foreign direct investment.”
He also said they have available land in economic zones, so the door was open for foreign investors. Referring to a letter of Rahul Phrama, Chowdhury said the company exports API worth Tk 1,200 crore every year to Bangladesh.
As per the proposal, the company wants to produce API to provide those at a cheap rate to the local pharmaceutical sector and export finished API-based products to different countries.
Chowdhury said foreign investors come to Bangladesh when they foresee positive outcomes from their investment.
According to industry insiders, Bangladesh's capacity to produce API was not sufficient, with pharmaceutical companies having to import approximately 80 percent of their API. Around 75-80 percent of the imported APIs are generic and 20-25 percent patented.
The backward linkage of Bangladesh's pharmaceutical manufacturing was weak, hence most of the API has to be imported and even when some are manufactured inside the country, the raw materials need to be imported.
Several local firms such as Globe, Beximco, Square and Eskayef Bangladesh manufacture some API and their production are expected to increase gradually.
Yet domestic production is not enough to meet the demands of the pharmaceutical industry, which manufactures about 8,000 generic drugs.