Pharma companies to widen global reach
Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies plan to strengthen their global footprint as they target to take their products to 30 new destinations within 2013-14.
At present, Bangladesh exports pharma products to 87 countries, including the US and a few European nations, after meeting 98 percent of the local demand.
State-owned Essential Drugs Company Ltd (EDCL) has recently entered the Sri Lankan market with nine products under a government-to-government (G2G) agreement.
Beximco Pharma also started exporting medicines to Europe in February after another two local companies -- Eskayef and Square -- carved a niche in the market much earlier.
State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka will procure medicines worth Tk 400 crore from Bangladesh during fiscal 2013-2014, EDCL Managing Director M Kadrul Huda said.
He said Sri Lankan Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena expressed their interest to import the medicines during his visit to Bangladesh early last month.
Last week they sent a list of 778 medicines and 1,284 laboratory items to the EDCL, Huda said.
“Bangladesh produces 75 percent of these medicines, and the Lankan government has allowed us to get the items manufactured by private companies,” he said.
“They prefer our medicines, which, they said are better than those from India. We can offer high quality products at lower prices,” he said. Sri Lanka will initially buy medicines worth Tk 2 crore and the first consignment will leave on May 15.
Bangladesh also requested the Sri Lankan government to relax rules for Bangladeshi companies for participating in international bidding, Huda said.
During 2008-2012, EDCL's production rose fourfold to Tk 400 crore, he said.
The government's increased spending on the health sector has given a boost to production, he said.
The government will soon sign another G2G deal with the Maldives to export medicines, he said.
The EDCL now plans to export condom to different Asian markets, he said. “We will also export these products to the EU and the US markets.”
Nazmul Hassan, managing director of Beximco Pharma, said, “The company now focuses on entering large and highly regulated markets such as the EU and the US, where the demand for generic products continues to rise.”Beximco has developed high quality pharmaceutical facilities with a competitive cost structure to manufacture and export generic drugs, Hassan said.
The company will launch more products for Europe, the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world, he said.
“The pharmaceutical sector is highly developed in Bangladesh and contributes significantly to the country's economy,” said M Mohibuz Zaman, chief operating officer of ACI Ltd, another exporter.
The sector has the potential to flourish like garments, he said.
Sales of pharmaceutical products, both in the domestic and world markets, are expected to reach Tk 12,000 crore this year, up from Tk 10,610 crore a year ago, he said.