Entrepreneurs and experts on Tuesday stressed raising standards of certification and regulatory bodies of the pharmaceuticals sector so that locally produced medicines were widely accepted in global market.
They also emphasised creating brands of medicine to capture a fair share of more than $1.13 trillion international market of pharmaceutical products.
They hoped that pharmaceutical products would soon become a billion dollar export sector if proper strategy could be taken both by the government and entrepreneurs.
They made the comment at the luncheon meeting titled ‘pharmaceuticals: the next multi-billion dollar opportunity for Bangladesh’ organised by American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh at Hotel Westin in Dhaka.
Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd chairman and managing director Abdul Muktadir presented a keynote paper at the meeting moderated by AmChem president Md Nurul Islam.
He said that Bangladesh would soon become a major global hub for high quality, low cost generic medicine and vaccine as the country had visible competitive advantage, surplus human resources and many companies were getting approval of major markets like the USA.
He said that the country must set a target on standard of quality certification and regulating bodies so that Bangladesh standard on quality of medicines was globally accepted.
Entrepreneurs should also form branded generic medicines for global market and establish marketing team in all possible emerging markets, he said.
‘Bangladesh has a unique position in global competitiveness as we have actually no competitors, unlike readymade garment, in medicine manufacturing among competitive countries,’ he said.
Bangladesh’s pharmaceuticals sector is rising fast and the market size stood at $2.35 billion with 8 per cent growth rate in the first quarter of 2018.
Local production fulfils around 97 per cent of domestic demand while only 3 per cent is met through import.
Bangladesh exported pharmaceuticals products worth $131.17 million with 24 per cent growth in the fiscal year 2016-2017.
Unihealth Limited managing director M Mosaddek Hossain said that Bangladesh needed high-end quality product and policy support to reach the goal of billion dollar export earnings from the sector.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam said that the government would provide all out support to the sector to unlock the potential of global market.
The government has already declared the pharmaceutical products as the products of the year. Bangladeshi pharma sector will continue to get waiver from applying and enforcing intellectual property rights until 2033 as per TRIPS agreement of the World Trade Organisation.
So, entrepreneurs should explore the benefit along with taking preparations for future, he said, adding that exporters also needed to focus on emerging markets.
Regarding the decision of UK-based pharmaceuticals company GSK of closing down its production units in Bangladesh, he said that it would not put any impact in the industry as GSK’s production was only 1 per cent of total domestic production while it had no export from the country.
Directorate General of Drug Administration director general major general Md Mustafizur Rahman said that the government was working together with the stakeholders and global partners on certification and standard issues to ensure acceptance of Bangladeshi products on international market.