The Pharmaceutical Industry in Bangladesh: A Huge Driving Force

The Pharmaceutical Industry in Bangladesh: A Huge Driving Force

The Pharmaceutical Industry in Bangladesh A Huge Driving Force
Introduction: The Pharmaceutical Industry of Bangladesh is a major driving force of the country’s economy. With covering 97% of the local needs, the industry exports medicine to many countries. Hence, Bangladesh is now 71st among 134 counties to export medicines. Now, with 250+ medicine plants, the industry continues to multiply.One of the key strengths of the medicine industry in Bangladesh is its low production costs. This is due to many factors, including low labor costs, a favorable exchange rate, and government policies that support the sector’s development. As a result, many international pharmaceutical companies outsource the production of their drugs to Bangladesh.

How The Medicine Industry Started?

The industry opened back in 1950 with the help of some local businesses. After the liberation in 1971, Bangladesh got consent to copy medicines as a least developed country. With the World Trade Organization’s help (WTO), the patent exemption was given to them so most people could buy medicines at a low rate.As a result, the nation has seen a significant rise in the output of generic drugs. It all started back in the 1980s. Bangladesh now has 166 pharmaceutical manufacturers with licenses in 1981. Moreover, eight international companies—including Glaxo, Pfizer, and Hoechst—supplied 75% of the nation’s medical needs at the time. During that time, 133 firms manufactured the remaining 10%, and 25 mediocre companies produced the rest 15%. These local firms formerly produced pharmaceuticals using raw materials imported at BDT 60 crore in foreign currency. Despite 16 domestic drug-making firms, 30 crores BDT of medicines are imported annually.
The government established an expert group to create a drug strategy in March 1982. Bangladesh joined the World Trade Organization in 1995 and signed the TRIPS agreement. Bangladesh was a least-developed country then. Hence, they benefit from making and selling medicines without a patent.

What Sort of Drugs Bangladesh produce?

Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical value chain is split into two parts. Active pharmaceutical ingredients, APIs, and finished formulations make up the first. In its simplest form, API refers to medicines having particular active elements for certain disorders. Whereas finished formulation essentially refers to the medication created by combining several compounds with active elements.

Current Market Status and Impacts

With a market value of around 3 billion, Bangladesh now has 257 licensed pharmaceutical firms. Square, Incepta, Beximco, Renata, and Opsonin are now big names. The industry mostly exports allopathic drugs.Bangladesh produces 4% of the nation’s anti-cancer drugs and more than 450 generic medications for 5,300 recognized brands. Approximately 80% of the drugs now produced in Bangladesh are generic medicines, with the remaining 20% being proprietary medicines.Bangladesh’s life expectancy and infant and maternal mortality have greatly improved recently. At the same time, the incidence of non-communicable diseases and tuberculosis has increased. Together, those diseases account for 67 percent of all deaths in the country, reinforcing the need for widespread access to affordable treatments.

Expected Future of The Medicine Sector in Bangladesh

Due to low production costs, Bangladesh can produce pharmaceuticals at lower prices. It is crucial for a country with a developing healthcare system. The agreement regarding patents initially worked from the year 2005. However, the country later extended it twice until 2033. This facility helps pharmaceutical companies boost their sales.Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical sector has had five years of annual growth at a CAGR of 15.6%. The Bangladeshi pharmaceutical market was worth around $2.42 billion in 2018. By 2025, the pharmaceutical market will expand by 114% and reach a value of more than 6 billion dollars, as predicted.

Exporting medicines amid local fulfilments

However, the export rate is also escalating constantly. Bangladesh made 136 million dollars in the 2019–20 fiscal year by selling medicines to 147 other nations. Now, Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical sector is attempting to take 10% of the global market. The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have already granted authorization to six national organizations.

The Potential Risks Coming in The Medicine Industry of Bangladesh: Collision With WTO

The TRIPS agreement with the World Trade Organization states that Bangladesh, a least developed nation, would avail of patent exemption on pharmaceutical items until 2033. However, a collision course is going to happen with the WTO.Therefore, Bangladesh could lose the patent exemption facility seven years before the expiration date since it plans to leave the LDC category by 2026. This may pause the development of the medicine business in Bangladesh. Because if Bangladesh loses the benefits of the TRIPS agreement, pharmaceutical companies will have to establish new patent laws.
As a result, the production of several generic drug types is likely to stop. Domestic pharmaceutical producers may need to pay royalties on patents to keep making these drugs. It will result in the rising cost of medicines in Bangladesh. If not, businesses will risk violating patents and will pay penalties. So, Bangladesh might see bans on exporting medicines.Besides, A major industry problem is that it barely pays attention to research. Hence, the local pharmaceutical industry needs to catch up in innovation. In addition, subpar and counterfeit medicines pose a danger to Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical sector.Despite strict rules governing the quality of pharmaceuticals supplied abroad, the local market is flooded with fake medicines. Quality manufacturers thus lose a lot of profits every year. Additionally, most raw materials needed to create medicines are imported from outside. However, if Bangladesh could make these resources domestically, the pharmaceutical sector could become more self-sufficient, and production costs might fall.

Final Words

Nonetheless, Bangladesh’s rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry must be on track for a long time. If the concerned people and government pay serious attention to research on inventing medicines, the sector will survive to the fullest. Even if Bangladesh leaves LDC status after some years, by then, the drug sector will make revolutionary changes and continue to rise. Thus, Bangladesh will not only become a developed country. Also, it will be a key player in the pharmaceutical sector of the entire world.

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