Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industry

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Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industry

By Sarker Imran, RRU, BC, Canada| |

There are several sectors on which Bangladesh can be proud of and undoubtedly the pharmaceutical sector is one of these sectors, rather it is the sector, which is the second-largest contributor to the government exchequer. There are about 231 companies in this sector and the approximate total market size is about Taka 76,500 million per year of which about 97% of the total requirement of medicines is created by the local companies and the rest 3% is imported. The imported drugs mainly comprise of the cancer drugs, vaccines for viral diseases, hormones etc.   

Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industry is now heading towards self-sufficiency in meeting the local demand. The industry is the second highest contributor to the national exchequer after garments, and it is the largest white-collar intensive employment sector of the country. There are about 450 generics registered in Bangladesh. Out of these 450 generics, 117 are in the controlled category i.e. in the essential drug list. The remaining 333 generics are in the decontrolled category, The total number of brands /items that are registered in Bangladesh is currently estimated to be 5,300, while the total number of dosage forms and strengths are 8,300. Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry is mainly dominated by domestic manufacturers. Of the total pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh, the local companies are enjoying a market share reaching around 80%, while the MNCs are having a market share of 20%.   

During the the last two decades the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh has been taken a newer height. Besides meeting the 97% need of local demand we are exporting the medicines into 72 countries. This sector contributes a lot into the national economy by exporting raw materials and finished goods. Bangladesh is ready to enter the Highly Regulated Market. For this reason different pharmaceutical companies are investing to build high tech pharmaceutical industries. Some renowned companies have already entered the Highly Regulated Market and got the UK MHRA, EU, TGA Australia and GCC approval and some are in the process to get the USFDA & UK MHRA approval. Through this accreditation these companies will be able to export medicine and through contract manufacturing agreement.

GATT & TRIPS: An Alarm to Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industries.

Out of the inter war experience came the conviction that liberal world trade required a set of rules and binding commitments based on non-discriminatory principles while there was not enough agreement to create an international trade organization, at least a General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT) was signed by 23 Large countries in 1947. The GATT provided not only a set of multilateral rules & disciplines, but also a forum to negotiate tariff reductions and rule changes plus a mechanism to help settle trade disputes. Eight so-called rounds of negotiations took place in the subsequent 46 years. The last one (the Uruguay Round) culminating in the ‘interim’ GATT Secretariat being converted into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 1995.

The GATT and WTO contribute to globalization in several ways. The WTO has four key objectives:

a) to set & enforce rules for international trade
b) to provide a forum to negotiate & monitor trade liberalization c) to improve policy transparency &
d) to resolve trade disputes

WTO is much more comprehensive than that the GATT, For example, GATT’s product coverage in practice was confined mainly to manufacturers (effectively not including textiles & clothing), whereas the WTO encompasses all goods (including farm products), services, capital to some extent & ideas (intellectual property).

The major changes that will occur due to the implementation of GATT-TRIPS-WTO on Bangladesh Pharmaceuticals Market from 2005 are:

a) Withdrawal of protection for local...
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