One of the most developed technology sectors in Bangladesh is the pharmaceutical industry. Manufacture of pharmaceuticals is now one of the largest capital-intensive white-collar industries in the country, which has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Around 97 per cent of local needs are produced locally while imported medicines mainly belong to hi-tech genres. The market share of the local manufacturers is currently around 90 percent and 10 percent is controlled by foreign producers.
There are five types of medicine manufacturing companies in Bangladesh. These are Allopathic Drug Manufacturers, Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers, Unani Drug Manufacturers, Herbal Drug Manufacturers, Homoeopathic & Biochemic Drug Manufacturers.
New investments in the sector and adoption of modern technology have increased the production capacity. Population growth and lifestyle changes, growing per capita income, rise in life expectancy, changing disease profile, rapid urbanization etc are the key drivers for boom in the domestic market consumption. Improved healthcare facilities and diagnosis with modern technology and rapid growth of chronic diseases due to change in lifestyle and environment factors are other reasons for the growth of domestic drug market. People in Bangladesh are now more conscious about their health and they want to live longer, leading them to consult physicians regularly and take different medicine as per the prescription.
The domestic market for pharmaceutical products has been expanding during the current decade at a rate of around 15 percent. This market is expected to be worth between Taka 400 to 500 billion by the year 2022-23. According to available statistics, the market size in 2018 was worth of TK. 205.12 billion with a growth rate of 9.36 percent; the corresponding figures for 2017 and 2016 were TK. 187.56 billion and TK. 156.40 billion alongside growth rates of 19.92 percent and 30.82 percent respectively.
The Pharmaceuticals industry of the country exports medicines to global markets, including USA & Europe. Pharmaceutical companies are expanding their business with the aim to expand the export market around the globe. Notable development has been the current export of Bangladeshi medicines to 147 countries, including developed ones. There has also been some progress in producing hi-tech genres of medicines and medical devices locally.
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, Bangladesh’s medicine exports registered a 25.60% rise to $130 million in Fiscal Year 2019, which was $103.46 million in 2018. Considering Bangladesh’s export potential, government has been supporting the sector through policy support and incentives like tax holidays, priority in getting lands and allocation of dedicated economic zones.
Bangladeshi pharmaceutical industries are now compliant and regulated as some leading companies have received certification from US FDA and UK MHRA. According to Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI), recently approximately 1,200 pharmaceutical products received registration for export. Beximco Pharma a leading exporters to the US, has received US FDA certification, Square Pharmaceuticals and Incepta got UK MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) certification to exports items.
Alongside, pharmaceutical players are targeting to capture a significant market share in price sensitive African markets. Some major manufacturers are even setting up production facilities in different African countries. In addition, demands for generic medicine in the global market, manufacturers' drive to penetrate export markets and government incentives to do that acted as catalyst to post share rise in the export earnings. Since the sector is very sophisticated and sensitive, manufacturers of medicine have adopted modern technology, which is hugely contributing to the growth of pharmaceuticals industry of Bangladesh both in domestic and exports markets.
Bangladesh imports around 99% of raw materials of pharmaceuticals industry mainly from China and India. To solve this problem, the government allocated 200 acres of land for developing an API Industrial Park in Munshiganj, beside Dhaka - Chattogram highway. After completion of API Park, Bangladesh will be able to decrease the cost of locally manufactured drugs and get more competitive edge in the exports market.
The country can save at least 70% of import cost of raw material by producing active pharmaceutical ingredient. Bangladesh can earn from the $238 billion global market by exporting API.
Top 10 Pharmaceutical Companies in Bangladesh:
Pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh usually provide branded-generic products. So, established brands are able to charge premium price for their products. According to IQVIA 2018, top 10 companies hold 68.1 percent of Pharma market share of the country. List of top ten Pharmaceuticals Industries of Bangladesh are:
- Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. : 18.6 %
- Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd. : 10.3 %
- Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. : 8.5 %
- Opsonin Pharmaceuticals Ltd. : 5.6 %
- Renata Limited " 5.5%
- Eskayef Bangladesh Ltd : 4.5 %
- Aristopharma Ltd. : 4.5 %
- ACI Ltd. : 4.1 %
- ACME Laboratories Ltd. : 4.0 %
- Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd. : 2.8 %
- Rest : 31.7 %