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Drug export witnesses sharp increase

downloadThe export volume of local drugs has seen a sharp increase in the first half of the current fiscal year (FY) of 2013-14 thanks to their high-end production and better quality, industry insiders said.

Besides, the continued efforts on the part of the entrepreneurs concerned to explore overseas markets have also played a significant role in attaining the success, they added.

The sector has registered a 34.76 per cent export growth in the July-December period of the current fiscal year, compared to the same period in last FY.

According to the industry people, many buyers, both from the developed and developing countries are now showing interest in importing vital drugs along with the common ones from Bangladesh due to their proven quality.

Managing Director (MD) of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Adbul Muktadir said the pharmaceutical companies have long been trying to explore export markets and the recent ‘achievement’ is the outcome of their efforts.

“Exploring pharmaceutical markets abroad is a time-consuming task. Yet we have long been trying to make foreign clients understand the quality of our products and then appointing agents. Now we have started harvesting the fruits of our efforts,” he added.

Mr Muktadir, also the general secretary of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI), said bulk imports by the existing buyers had also helped boost export of the local pharmaceutical products.

“Many of the importers were taking our products on a test basis, but now these buyers are showing their interest in importing our drugs in large volumes which is a positive sign,” Mr Muktadir added.

“Besides, many of our local companies are now exporting high-end products like insulin, cancer drugs and many other critical medicines to new destinations. This is also a good sign predicting our further growth,” he noted.

The BAPI general secretary said Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies have plan to enhance their global footprint as they look to taking their products to 30 new destinations within FY 2013-14.

At present, Bangladesh exports pharmaceutical items to 87 countries, including the US and a few European nations, after meeting 98 per cent of the local demand, he said.

According to him, the recent government-to-government (G2G) agreement between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would pave the way for convincing other governments about “our products’ quality and capability”.

Through the G2G agreement, state-owned Essential Drugs Company Ltd (EDCL) has entered the Sri Lankan market with nine products.

“The state-owned Pharmaceutical Corporation of Sri Lanka will procure more drugs from Bangladesh in the coming years,” EDCL Managing Director M Kadrul Huda told the FE.

“They prefer our medicines, which, they said, are better than those from India. We can offer high-quality products at lower prices,” he said.

He informed that Sri Lankan Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had expressed the country’s interest to import the medicines during his visit to Bangladesh recently.

Besides, Beximco Pharma has also started exporting medicines to Europe in February after two other local companies – Eskayef and Square – carved a niche in the overseas market much earlier.

However, the BAPI general secretary expressed his hope that ‘export’ of local drugs would see a much more boost, provided the local companies are given permission to invest abroad.

“We have a proven capability, so the government should permit the companies to invest abroad for better return of their expertise,” he added.

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Report: Badrul Ahsan

Source: Financial Express

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