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Herbal medicine manufacturing in Bangladesh on the rise

2222222Local drug manufacturers including the top market players are increasingly making foray to produce herbal medicines together with their traditional ones considering their growing demand in the local and international markets, industry insiders said.

They observed that scope to exploit the untapped herbal medicine market lured investors to become interested in this.

The government, in 2005, had recognised herbal medicine as the fifth medicinal system after the allopathic, homeopathic, ayurvedic and unani healing systems aiming to diversify the country’s export basket.

Some 12 advanced drug manufacturers (allopathic) have taken approval from the office of the Director General of Drug Administration (DGDA) to produce herbal medicines. The number of such manufacturers was less than five a year ago.

The companies that took DGDA approval are: The Acme Laboratories, Square Herbal and Nutraceuticals, Modern Herbal Pharmaceuticals, Drug International, Radiant Herbal and Nutraceuticals, Chemico Laboratories, Chemist Laboratories, Axtract Laboratories, S B Laboratories, APS Laboratories, Ibney Husum Nutraceuticals etc.

Besides, more than 20 companies have lined up for licences from the drug administration to manufacture such medicines to exploit business potentials of the sector.

Sources at the DGDA office said at least eight companies including Square Herbal and Nutraceuticals, Drug International, Radiant Pharmaceuticals, Acme Laboratories and Modern Herbal Laboratories have already started production of herbal medicines.

Rest of the companies who got licence have almost completed formalities of starting production, the sources said.

Food supplements and medicines of liver diseases, cough, hypertension etc are the initial herbal items produced by the traditional medicine manufacturers.

Plants’ seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers are generally used for preparing herbal medicines. In other words, if the main ingredient is derived from herbs, the drug will fall under herbal medicine.

“Herbal medicines have been coming to the mainstream gradually, as people are relying more and more on them,” said Nazim Mustafa, group product manager of Acme Laboratories Ltd said.

“The potential of herbal medicines is immense – both locally and internationally. The global herbal medicine market is growing at 15-20 per cent every year,” he added.

General Manager (Marketing) of Modern Herbal Pharmaceuticals Ltd Abdur Rashid said they have opted for herbal medicine making with an aim to tap the local demand and export potential. “The global market for herbal medicines is a large one and many people in the West are showing growing interests in them.”

Mr Rashid, however, said in many countries, herbal medicines are taken as food or herbal supplements, as their side-effects have proved to be next to nothing.

“Earlier, we had planned to market the herbal items in the local market but since such medicines are getting popular significantly all over the world, we are now focusing on export of the medicines to both developed and developing countries.” he added.

“A new avenue for herbal medicine has opened up as many investors are looking for venture in making such medicines,” DGDA Deputy Director Md Ruhul Amin told the FE.

To push the sector forward, the drug administration has recently set a definition for herbal medicine and selected a set of reference books for manufacturers to follow while making herbal medicines.

The regulator has also finalised testing criteria to boost the sector and expedite the process of giving approval to the prospective licence seekers.

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Report: Badrul Ahsan
Source: Financial Express

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