Bangladesh has joined a select group of countries that manufacture world-class, large-scale Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as Beximco today sent a shipment of 6.5 million PPE gowns manufactured to the US brand Hanes for ultimate delivery to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In a ceremony at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to mark the occasion, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam joined US Ambassador Earl R. Miller to see off Beximco's first shipment of PPE to the US.
At a time when the world is desperately battling the Covid-19 pandemic, Beximco has joined the fight by moving swiftly to add manufacturing capabilities in PPE items such as gowns, masks and coveralls, as it has become clear that there will be a crucial need for the items to safeguard medical professionals and the general public against the contagion, said Beximco CEO and Group Director Syed Naved Husain.
"In just two months, we have used our world-class manufacturing, technical and design talent to switch over and start making personal protection equipment and help increase the supply of PPE which is urgently needed in Bangladesh and across the globe," he said.
"Bangladesh was well positioned to become a new hub for PPE manufacturing. This would help keep people safe and secure worldwide while helping Bangladesh's own economy and ensuring that the large workforce of 4.1 million in the garment sector can still make a livelihood. Beximco is leading the way in this regard," Syed Naved Husain said.
Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam lauded the role of Beximco's contribution to Bangladesh's economy and said, "In these trying times, it is remarkable to see that within this short span of two months Bangladesh was able to foray into this very regulated market with such a sensitive healthcare product with just not ten or twenty thousand pieces but six and half million pieces. What an achievement!"
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller said the event marked "the first major shipment of PPE sent to the US."
"US welcomes Bangladesh's world-class large-scale PPE production to the global marketplace. The Beximco-Hanes partnership is another great example of how our two great nations are combating the Covid-19 pandemic," the US ambassador said.
"Imagine, two months from the request from the US, Beximco and Bangladesh was nimble enough to turn production lines around so that we can put badly needed PPE on this aircraft behind me and send it to the US. That's absolute bureaucratic and entrepreneurial light speed," he said.
Speaking at the event, Dr Jamaluddin Ahmed, chairman of Janata Bank said: "Janata Bank is proud to be associated with Beximco in financing them. We are going to finance the other exporters also who are involved in export business as the economic machine should run or else everything will fall apart."
Managing Director of Beximco Pharma Nazmul Hassan MP said in the initial days of pandemic, there was huge local demand for PPE and Beximco took the initiative of providing PPE to local healthcare services through import.
"But there was severe shortage globally as demand kept increasing. We, therefore, decided to manufacture them to meet the demand. Today we are not only providing these to our local healthcare services but also exporting them to very highly regulated, sensitive markets," he said.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals is Bangladesh's only US FDA certified company with world class manufacturing, research and development facilities, and a global footprint in 50 countries.
It is also the first company in the world to have launched a generic version of Remdesivir, a drug which has been cleared by the US FDA for emergency use for Covid-19 patients.
Beximco has launched a new PPE division and hired global consultants, while investing and setting up comprehensive vertical facilities for its PPE products including all levels of PPE gowns, coveralls, masks, etc. The company plans to become a major global player in this sector in the next three years.
The company has also established a strategic partnership with Chicago based Geste Designs and are examining the feasibility to jointly invest and establish a PPE manufacturing hub in the US state of Detroit with support of the state and the city.