Category Archives: Pharmaceutical Industry/Healthcare

Abdul Monem Ltd to enter into pharma sector

Abdul Monem Ltd to enter into pharma sector

Jasim Uddin Haroon

Abdul Monem Limited (AML), the popular Igloo ice cream maker, will be entering into the pharmaceutical sector within the next couple of months with option to manufacture high-end products drugs.

AM Pharma has already installed machineries at its plant at Hemayetpur in Gazipur. The brand name of its products will be Novus.

“We expect to go into production within the next two months as we have already installed the equipment,” ASM Mainuddin Monem, managing director of AM Pharma told the FE Wednesday.

He said the main objective of entering into the drug market is to produce and market quality drugs at affordable prices.

AM Pharma will produce initially 24 generic products mostly related to common diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

He said it is initially investing around Tk 200 million saying “We will expand our plant in second and third phases investing further.”

“Yes, this is our initial investment. Our site has been designed to make room for further expansion in future,” he added.

Mr Main said he became interested in setting up the pharmaceutical plant seeing bright prospect of medicine production for both local and export markets.

“Apart from this, we think that we have a commitment to serve the country’s people with quality and affordable drugs”

There are 164, out of 232 registered pharmaceutical companies producing around 8000 types of drugs.

The companies produced medicines worth Tk around 50 billion in 2008. Bangladesh is currently exporting its generic drugs to some 67 countries.

AML has a number of concern including Coca Cola, construction, sugar refineries employing over 5000 local people. The group’s annual turnover is around Tk 10 billion.


Acme plans expansion with new Tk 215cr pharma unit

Acme plans expansion with new Tk 215cr pharma unit

Sayeda Akter

On completion of around 60 percent work, the new Tk 215 crore manufacturing unit of Acme Labora-tories Ltd plans to go into production next year.

Located at Dhamrai, the Acme Specialised Pharma-ceuticals Limited will produce anti-cancer and anti-AIDS drugs for the local market, now almost fully dependent on imports of such drugs.

However it will make other drugs too.

Cancer resistant drugs are now manufactured by one or two companies when cancer patients are on the rise in Bangladesh, according to industry people. “This new unit will help enhance our supply capacity to both local and international market by more than 20 percent from the very first year of production,” said Mizanur Rahman Sinha, Acme’s managing director.

The new one of his pharmaceutical conglomerate, which has a track record of producing a wide range of medicines across the therapeutic spectrum for both human and animal health, also targets exports of its produces to rich nations including USA and UK, Sinha added.

Presently, Acme medicines are exported to 11 countries with around 55 percent of such growth a year.

“We are trying very hard to ensure meeting international compliance, while constructing the new unit. At the same time, we are strictly maintaining the regulations of the exporting countries,” said the boss of the local second largest medicine maker.

“We hopefully will go into production by June 2010. Its process of setting up started in 2008,” Sinha told The Daily Star.

Of the total fund for the new plant, Tk 130 crore will come from a syndicated loan, raised by Standard Chartered Bank as lead arranger. A term-loan deal was signed yesterday.

“We put emphasis on ensuring good health for all by manufacturing ethical drugs of the highest quality at affordable prices and reaching out those even to the remotest areas by proper distribution network,” said Mizanur Rahman Sinha.

Common people often fail to get access to anti-cancer drugs because of their unavailability in the local market, he pointed out.

In fiscal year 2008-09, Acme Laboratories recorded a Tk 400 crore sales in domestic market, while it posted Tk $1.2 million exports.

“ Experiencing a success in the domestic market, ACME started its first international operation by exporting medicines to Bhutan in 1995,” said Sinha, adding: “The volume of sales has increased significantly with an average growth rate of 50 percent every year.”

Among the medicines exported, antibiotic, anti-hypertensive, anti-ulcerant and vitamin are remarkable.

South-East Asia, Africa, Middle East and the EU are among the Acme’s export destinations. Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam are the countries where it exports regularly.

Acme to set up specialised unit to export drugs to US, Europe

Acme to set up specialised unit to export drugs to US, Europe

FHM Humayan Kabir

The country’s leading drug manufacturer Acme Laboratories Ltd. would set up a specialised drug production unit with a target to export the products to the US and Europe, officials said Monday.

“We will construct a factory beside our existing unit particularly maintaining the international standard requirements of the United States and United Kingdom markets,” deputy managing director of the drug company Afzalur Rahman Sinha told the FE.

He said: “As we expecting to export to the US and UK market, we will maintain the standard of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in our proposed production unit.”

Mr Sinha said they would invest Tk20 billion to install the specialised pharmaceutical drugs production unit, besides the existing production unit at Dhamrai in Dhaka.

The Standard Chartered Bank would provide Tk1.30 billion loan under a syndicated term loan arrangement with different banks and financial institution to the Acme Laboratories, a human, herbal and animal health medicine manufacturer.

The existing drug manufacturing unit of the country’s leading conglomerate-Acme Group, is exporting pharmaceutical products to some Asian countries including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Myanmar in addition to meeting the local demand.

Among the medicines exported– Antibiotic, Antihypertensive, Antiulcerant and vitamins are remarkable.

Mr. Sinha said: “We hope the construction works of our proposed plant would be complete by middle next year. We have set a target to go for production by June-July 2010.”

The Acme Laboratories Ltd, with last year’s turnover of nearly Tk4.0 billion, will be able to create some 1000 new jobs after setting up their specialised production unit.

“After staring production at our new plant, we hope our annual turnover will almost double to nearly Tk7.0 billion,” Mr Sinha said.

Bangladesh’s drug companies have been struggling to enter into different US, EU and African markets with their products for last few years.

Some leading domestic drug manufacturers including Square, Beximco and Eskayef have already got approval of the USFDA and UK’s MHRA for marketing in those countries.

The local medicine manufacturers exported drugs worth US$45.67 million in the financial year 2008-09, maintaining over 6.0 per cent growth over the corresponding year, Export Promotion Bureau said.

Square Pharma to build new unit

Square Pharma to build new unit
Star Business Report

Square Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh, plans to set up its third new production unit, to meet local and export demand for medicine.

The new unit will be built in two phases in the next seven years to manufacture three types of products — solid doses form, large volume parenteral (LVP) and special products, such as anticancer drugs.

The cost of the project has been estimated at Tk 514 crore — Tk 360 crore for the first phase which targets the completion by December 2012, and Tk 154 crore for the second phase to be completed by June 2016 — according to the company’s disclosure, posted on the Dhaka Stock Exchange website yesterday.

Square Pharma, which is listed on both the Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges, expects to produce 5 billion tablets, 1.5 billion capsules, 60 million injections and 11 million pieces LVP in the first phase.

In the second phase, the company targets production of 4.5 billion pieces tablets, 1.2 billion capsules, 10 million injections and 9 million LVP.

The board of directors of Square Pharma has also decided to purchase capital machinery and building for an insulin project from Square Biotechs Ltd at a cost of Tk 81.23 crore, on a cost price basis.

The board has also approved Tk 50 crore for BMRE (balancing, modernisation, renovation and expansion) purpose and the purchase of land to extend existing projects and future expansion.

The company’s FY2007-08 annual report shows that its exports increased by 10 percent to Tk 21.24 crore against Tk 19.29 crore a year ago. The report also forecasted rising exports in coming years.

Presently, the company exports to more than 30 countries.

Square Pharma recorded net profits of Tk 189 crore with earnings per share of Tk 156.56 as of March 31 this year, compared to Tk 138.18 crore net profits and Tk 114.47 (restated) earnings per share in the same period last year.

The company declared 40 percent cash dividend and 25 percent stock dividend for the year ended March 31, 2009.

Herbal medicines get new lease of life

Herbal medicines get new lease of life

Herbal medicines are increasingly popular in local and global markets. More than 20 firms seek licences to come into the sector.

Herbal medicines are increasingly popular in local and global markets. More than 20 firms seek licences to come into the sector.

Sohel Parvez

Herbal medicines are set to witness an investment boost as over 20 companies have lined up for licences from the drug administration to manufacture such medicines to exploit business potentials in the sector, still almost untapped, industry people said.

“A new avenue for herbal medicine has opened up as many investors are looking for venturing in making such medicines,” a senior official of Directorate of Drug Administration told The Daily Star.

Officials said the drug regulator has received nearly two dozens of applications seeking approval to make herbal medicine. Of the applicants, four got licences and around 20 companies are awaiting approval.

“So far we have cleared four applications. We are also in process of giving approval to some more companies,” the official added.

The latest approval was given to Radiant Nutraceuticals Ltd, which is set to join the foray with three existing operators — Square, ACME and Modern — with Square Herbal and Nutraceuticals being the pioneer in the segment.

“We have opted for herbal medicine making with an aim to tap the export potential. The global market for herbal medicine is huge and many people in the West are showing growing interests,” said MM Asad Ullah, in-charge of Square Herbal and Nutraceuticals Ltd, a concern of Square Group.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), as many as 80 percent of world’s people rely on traditional medicines for their primary healthcare and remedies, and the use of traditional medicines is rising in the developed economies such as Europe and America.

Industry people said the global market for medicinal plant products is estimated to be more than $60 billion a year.

At present, China and India supply bulk of the plant drugs demand to the global market.

In Bangladesh, demand for herbal medicine is also on the rise.

Industry insiders said allopathic pharma market in Bangladesh is worth around Tk 4,000 crore, while the market size for herbal medicines including Ayurvedic and Unani stands at more than Tk 1,000 crore.

Industry people observed that scopes to exploit the untapped herbal medicine now lure investors to the segment with majority of applications coming from new investors along with allopathic drug makers.

Stakeholders said some of the well-known allopathic drug makers are gearing up for establishing herbal medicine units.

The sector started pulling attention after the government had endorsed herbal medicine in the drug policy along with two other traditional branches of medicine — Ayurvedic and Unani.

Later the sector received a further boost as the government termed herbs and herbal medicine as one of the five priority sectors to diversify the country’s export basket.

Industry people observed that Bangladesh has prospect in making footsteps on the global market for medicinal plant and products as nearly 650 medicinal plant species have been identified to be in use in Bangladesh with around 25 plants having high value.

Sector people said herbal medicine differs from Ayurvedic and Unani medicines due to its unique manufacturing process, although all the three branches of medicine depend mainly on medicinal plants.

“Our manufacturing process is different from Ayurvedic and Unani. We also use modern technology,” said Asad of Square Herbal, which has so far launched 8 medicinal products.

He also said businesses of Ayurvedic and Unani medicines would not be hurt by the growth of herbal medicines. “Rather a new market will be created,” he added.

To push the sector forward, the drug administrator 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.

The licence awarding process was slow earlier in absence of a definition, testing criteria and reference, industry people said.

“Finalisation of these criteria will assist us to clear the applications faster to help grow the sector in a disciplined manner,” said the official of the Drug Administration.

Prospect of medicine export to CIS countries bright

Prospect of medicine export to CIS countries bright


There is bright prospect of export of standard quality medicines produced in Bangladesh to CIS countries including Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Both the countries import 90 per cent of medicines from abroad. Besides, there is also immense potentialities to set up joint venture pharmaceutical industries between Bangladesh and the two CIS countries.

This was revealed following a visit to both the countries by as delegation of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) led by its adviser SM Shafiuzzaman from June 28 to July 6.

During the visit, the delegation observed that the government should expedite diplomatic activities with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, which achieved independence after breaking apart of the former Soviet Union.

The delegation also was of the view that pharmaceutical products of Bangladesh worth over Tk 100 crore could be exported to the CIS countries in future with proper diplomatic efforts, enhancement of competent manpower in Bangladesh’s embassies and in CIS countries where there was no representation of the country.

The objective of the visit of Bangladesh pharmaceutical delegation to the CIS countries was to explore and expand markets of medicines produced in the country abroad.

During its visit, the Bangladesh delegation held talks with Health Minister of Uzbekistan Prof A Ikramov and high officials of his ministry. It was apprised of the health minister that presently Bangladesh exports medicine of international standard to 72 countries.

At the talks, the Uzbek Health Minister showed keen interest to import medicine produced in Bangladesh within the shortest possible time and setting up of joint-venture medicine producing industries with Bangladesh.

In this regard, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Uzbek State-Joint-Stock Concern-Uzpharmsanoat and BAPI.

Later, the Bangladesh pharmaceutical delegation had talks with vice-chairman of the committee on health and medicine affairs of health ministry of Kazaksthan and other high officials.

The delegation apprised of the Kazakh officials in details about the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh. Besides, the delegation had separate rounds of fruitful talks with Pharmaceutical Importers Association and Manufacturers Association and large-scale importers of both the countries.

A number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) also were signed between different pharmaceutical companies of the country and established importing companies of both the countries.

Bangladesh Ambassador in Tashkent Hasib Aziz extended all sorts of cooperation to the Bangladesh delegation during the visit.

BAPI secretary general and managing director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd Abdul Muktadir, vice-president and managing director Medimet Pharmaceuticals Ltd Khondokar Tariq-ul-Islam, director of the drug administration directorate Md Ismail Hossain, director (planning and commercial) of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd Ms Akhter Jahan Hasnin Muktadir, BAPI executive committee member and managing director of Edruc Ltd Feroz Uddin Khan, BAPI executive committee member and executive director of Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd Md Halimuzzaman, BAPI member and director (marketing) of Biopharma Laboratories Ltd Dr Liaquat Ullah and business development manager Md Sami Akhter and director of the Export Promotion Bureau Omar Faruque were the other members of the Bangladesh pharmaceutical delegation, according to a press release of BAPI.

Eskayef enters UK medicine market

Eskayef enters UK medicine market
Sayeda Akter

Eskayef Bangladesh Ltd, a leading pharmaceutical company in the country, has started exporting medicines to a UK firm from this month, the company’s managing director said.

“Initially, we have got an export order of Diuretics and Omeprazole worth around $3 million from the UK drug company and we have sent our first consignment to that country on Monday,” said AM Faruque, adding that his company would complete the export by September.

“We have got approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of UK in August 2008, which allows us to export pharmaceutical products to the European market,” he said.

Faruque said this agency usually takes a long time, even years, to give such a go-ahead, but Eskayef has achieved it in only eight months because the company complies with the MHRA requirements, including quality assessment and hygiene maintenance.

“In addition, with this order we have been allowed to export non-sterile production of tablets, capsules and granules (commonly known as pellets), which would help us grow further, both locally and globally,” he went on.

He said his company eyes raising exports to $5 million in 2009 from $3 million a year ago.

The world-class healthcare solution provider grows at 30 percent a year. The Eskayef MD also believes that the market will grow nearly 15 percent in 2009.

Eskayef manufactures and markets a wide range of therapeutic drugs, bulk pellets and animal health and nutrition products. Its 2008 sales reached $60 million, while the figure was only half a million US dollars in 1990, the year Transcom Group took over the company.

“We have set a target to sell drugs worth Tk 400 crore this year,” the Eskayef top official said.

The countries where Eskayef bulk pellets and finished products are now exported include Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Kenya and some Central American countries.

AM Faruque in this context also pointed to his company’s constant efforts to ensure quality medicines for consumers at affordable prices.

There are 250 small, medium and large local and multinational pharmaceutical companies in operation in Bangladesh. Many started their business after 2000 sensing the growth potential in the local market.

Of the 250, top 10 companies, such as Square, Beximco, Eskayef, Incepta, Acme, ACI, Opsonin, Renata, Aristopharma and Drug International take up nearly 70 percent of the total market share, according to the Information on Medical Statistics (IMS) 2008 survey.