12 pc export surge in 8-month
Mahfuz Emran: The pharmaceutical manufacturers of the country have witnessed a business boom due to the Covid catastrophe over the world. On an average the production and revenue of the drugmakers have fetched 40 percent growth during last fiscal year, industry insiders told. While all major sectors have experienced a fall in production amid Covid-led disruption in the country, the pharmaceutical industry has remained unhurt as pharma companies registered a manufacturing boost on the back of high demand.
Production in the pharmaceutical sector has continued to rise in the pandemic situation because of the high demand for drugs, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bank. The production of quantity units of goods crossed 850 in October last year which was at 475 in October 2018, according to Bangladesh Bank data. When pharmaceutical production was on an uptrend, the overall manufacturing sector was going in an opposite direction. The growth of the overall manufacturing industry fell to 5.47 percent in June last year from 14.84 percent in June 2019 as production fell sharply from January 2020 and continued with this trend till April that year. However, manufacturing began to rise quickly from May last year, according to the central bank survey titled “Economic and Financial Stability Implications of Covid-19: Bangladesh Bank and Government’s Policy Responses.” The rise in imports and exports also reflects how pandemic brings opportunity for local drugmakers.
The import of pharmaceutical raw materials increased (See Page-2)
by 22.45 percent in the first seven months of the current fiscal year compared to the same period last year when total industrial raw materials import was negative 2.81 percent, according to Bangladesh Bank data. The raw material import in the pharmaceutical sector was negative 14 percent in the last fiscal year, the central bank data shows.
The import of raw materials increased as drugmakers are enhancing their production capacity amid rising demand for new medicines related to Covid-19 treatment.
Beximco, the top medicine exporter in Bangladesh, brought 15 new medicines in the last one year, of which, 3 to 4 drugs were Covid-19 related.
The company was the first producer of coronavirus drug, Remdesivir, which is being used widely to cure virus-infected patients. The medicine is being exported to many countries. The company also went to re-launch some medicines like Ivermectin, Zink tablet, which is effective in coronavirus treatment.
The pharma sector is doing well even in the pandemic time due to a rise in demand for new medicines and healthcare products, said Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer of Beximco Pharmaceuticals.
He said Beximco started re-production of some medicines, which have efficacy in Covid treatment. More than three to four repurpose products are in the pipeline. The company will continue its double-digit export growth this year, fulfilling its projection, Rabbur also said.
Square Pharmaceuticals, invested Tk 250 crore during the pandemic to expand its production capacity to meet the growing demand for its products both at home and abroad. The pharma giant saw 20 percent growth in its profit and 11 percent in sales in the July-December period of the last year over the same period of the previous year.
Other large drugmakers also saw maximum 40 percent growth in sales in the last six months of last year over the same period last year.
Local drugmakers have also been performing strongly in the international market by exporting Covid-19 drugs.
The export of the pharmaceutical sector saw 12 percent growth in the July-March period of the current fiscal year, double from the same period of the last fiscal year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
The high business performance brought high profit for pharma companies, putting a positive impression on share prices in the stock market.
The Bangladesh Bank in its survey said pharmaceutical is the second dominating sector in the stock market after the banking sector as the output of the industry continuously increased throughout 2020.
The listed pharma companies saw up to a 300percent increase in profit in the last six months of the last year over the same period of the last year, according to the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) disclosure.
The strong performance of Beximco pharma put a positive impact on the share price of other companies of the Beximco group in the share market.
Two companies belonging to the Beximco group – Beximco Limited and Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd – are the most-talked issues to stock investors.
Soon after Beximco Pharma imported the first consignment of 50 lakh doses of vaccine against Covid-19 from the Serum Institute of India in January this year, the share price of companies of the group saw a big jump.
Two listed companies – Beximco pharma and Beximco Limited – have secured the top positions in the turnover chart of the DSE. They have jointly contributed 30.47 percent to the premier bourse’s total turnover.
Beacon, another large drugmaker, saw a 323 percent hike in its net profit in the last six months of 2020 in comparison to the same period of the previous year. The share price of the company remained upward since January this year and each share price gained above 95 percent till May, according to the sources of DSE and CSE.
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