Anti-cancer drug sales growing fast | The Daily Star
12:28 AM, July 22, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:57 AM, July 22, 2013

Anti-cancer drug sales growing fast

Anti-cancer drug sales growing fastThe anti-cancer drug market in Bangladesh is growing at 20 percent a year due to an alarming rise in cancer patients.
Locally-produced drugs are meeting 86 percent of the country's demand, while the remaining 14 percent is met through imports, according to Intercontinental Marketing Services, an international research firm.
Beacon Pharmaceuticals, a Bangladeshi-owned company, is the market leader with a 31 percent share, followed by Roche Bangladesh, the local arm of the Swiss healthcare company, at 24 percent.
“Beacon has a huge oncology facility to produce all kinds of cancer drugs. We believe we alone are capable of meeting the nation's entire demand,” said Mohammad Ebadul Karim, managing director of Beacon Pharmaceuticals.
Beacon started exporting cancer medicines last year and earned $23.4 million.
“So far, Beacon has been able to stop exodus of a significant amount of foreign currency by diverting patients away from the expensive medications from abroad,” he said, adding that his company has introduced 50-odd anti-cancer drugs to date.
Karim said the locally produced anti-cancer medicines are at least 20-30 percent cheaper than the imported ones.
He cited the example of paclitaxel, the drug used to kill diving tumour cells. One course of Taxol, the paclitaxel version made by Pfizer in the US, costs Tk 39,000, whereas its local variation, Xelpac, costs only Tk 12,000.
“We always priced our products considering the socio-economic condition of our patients,” said Ishtiaq Ahmed, technical adviser of Techno Drugs, which has a 14 percent market share.
Ahmed suggested the government give duty waiver on import of oncology raw materials to better serve the local market.
In 2012, a total of 15 lakh cancer patients were diagnosed, up from 2011's 12 lakh, according to the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital.

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