Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical sector is expected to become an industry of $5 billion in the next five years, experts told a seminar organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI).
Addressing the seminar titled ‘Export of pharmaceutical sector upon LDC Graduation: Strategies and Way Forward’ at the DCCI office in the city on Saturday, they said local pharmaceutical manufacturers meet 98 per cent of local demand.
Prime Minister’s Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman was the chief guest while Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus was special guest on the occasion. DCCI President Rizwan Rahman presided over the event. Advisor Salman Fazlur Rahman said the achievement in the
pharmaceutical sector is phenomenal and the secret to this success is the skilled human resources.
“Technological advancement is taking place in this sector, so we need more research and development for more advancement. But shifting to producing biological drugs will be a major challenge for us. 16 out of the top 20 bestselling medicines in the world are of biological drugs right at this moment,” he said.
At present, 15 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are being produced locally but value addition is the most important thing in this sector, according to the industry leader.
Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus said, “LDC graduation will be an opportunity for us though there are some challenges we must overcome.”
“Private sector has already proved their ability to lead the economy. To identify the challenges of this sector, stakeholder consultation meetings can play an important role,” he said.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Distinguished Fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman said Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical sector meets 97 percent of the domestic demand worth around $ 3.5 billion.
Export of pharma products was $188.8 million in FY2022. Bangladesh’s rank was 67th in the global pharma export market in 2021.
“But in terms of Active pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), Bangladesh is heavily dependent on import. In FY 2020-21, Bangladesh’s import of API was $1050.1 million. Global API market is of $200 billion,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Dhaka Chamber President Rizwan Rahman said Bangladesh will face a higher tariff regime ranging from 8 to 15 percent in the export market after graduation which may decline export earnings by 14.28 percent equivalent to 5.73 billion US dollar.
“The pharmaceutical sector may be affected by the loss of IP waiver resulting in a decline of generic and patented drugs production and export share. Alongside, the private sector is to be equipped and incentivized on IP adoption for business development,” he said.
Rizwan also requested the government to consider various policy reforms including the development of pharmaceutical R&D facilities and export market diversification.
Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection Director General AHM Shafiquzzaman, UniMed UniHealth Pharma Managing Director M Mosaddek Hossain and Dhaka University’s Biomedical Research Centre Director Prof ABM Faroque, among others, spoke on the occasion.
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