Local pharma cos likely to grab $5b international donors’ mkt

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=150226&date=2011-09-21

Local pharma cos likely to grab $5b international donors’ mkt
Badrul Ahsan

The country’s drug export may see a massive boom in the coming days, as the local producers are getting prepared to join the billion dollar medicine supply chain of different international charities.

Global medicine donors like Clinton Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam and other agencies every year donate drugs worth billions of dollars to poor countries.

The government has recently started construction of a drug-testing laboratory according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, which the health minister expects to be completed within a year.

Earlier, the absence of such a world-class laboratory deprived the local medicine producers of supplying medicines to the international charities, industry insiders said.

In 2010 only, Clinton Foundation donated US$287 million, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation $166.5 million and Oxfam around $211 million for ensuring healthcare facilities to the people of the impoverished nations.

Besides, other internationally reputed charitable organisations have also been donating a significant amount of money every year for healthcare and research.

Exporters said Bangladesh will be able to sell medicines worth billions of dollars to the donor organisations, if the government sets up the drug-testing laboratory with certification from the WHO.

Secretary General of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) Abul Muktadir told the FE that the absence of a world-class drug-testing laboratory has been depriving the Bangladeshi companies of joining the donor organisations’ supply chain.

“Our medicine products are well accepted to a large number of countries across the world for their quality and competitive prices. But the absence of a quality lab has left us behind,” he said.

“Despite repeated requests by BAPI over the last decade, the government could not establish a modern world-class lab. However, we have heard that work for setting up such a lab has started recently.”

He also said many Bangladeshi exporters would be able to supply a good volume of drugs to the $5.0 billion charity chain within a couple of years after establishment of the lab.

“Once the donors’ are assured that the quality of Bangladeshi medicines is up to the WHO-standard and their prices are competitive, they would positively source pharma products from Bangladesh,” Muktadir added.

Health and Family Welfare Minister A F M Ruhal Haque said the government has started the process of adopting the WHO guidelines for the drug-testing laboratory.

“We have started the construction of a WHO-standard lab, and I am hopeful that the work will be completed within a year,” he added.

Bangladesh has 258 registered advanced drug manufacturing (allopathic) companies, of which 164 are actively involved in manufacturing or marketing of pharmaceutical products at home and abroad.

The country’s drug export recorded a growth at the rate of 46.31 per cent in the July-August period of this fiscal year (2011-12), comparing to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

Bangladesh exports medicines to 67 countries. About 97 per cent of the country’s total drug consumption is met by local producers, while the rest 3.0 per cent is met through import.s

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