Trade
9 months ago

BD pharmaceutical exports expand to 131 countries

Third-highest earning comes from US market

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Bangladesh's pharmaceutical industry diversifies export market across the globe with health products reaching 131 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, America, Australia and Africa, insiders said.

The medicine manufacturers have already widened markets not only to South Asian nations like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan but also booked a share in the United States with the third-highest foreign-exchange earnings from the world's largest economy, they said Wednesday.

Out of the country's total $175.425 million worth of pharmaceutical-export earnings in the last fiscal year (FY) 2022-23, the local drug-makers made a shipment worth $15.25 million to the US market, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed.

They made highest exports to the Southeast Asian neighbouring-nation Myanmar, worth US$25.818 million that accounts for 14.72 per cent of the total $175.425-million annual turnover in the expansion process.

Sri Lanka is the second-largest market for Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals importing $21.91 million worth of products.

An FE analysis has found that the United States of America (USA), the Philippines, Afghanistan, Kenya, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal, Jamaica, Nigeria, Denmark, Somalia and Australia among the top 15 importers after Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Although the volume of Bangladesh's pharmaceutical-product exports year-on-year are not rising to the expected levels, the local manufacturers have diversified their market across globe.

The shipments dipped 7.08 per cent to $175.42 million in the last FY2023 from $188.78 million in the previous FY2022, the EPB data showed.

Zahangir Alam, Executive Director (Finance) Square Pharmaceutical Limited, told the FE that just two decades ago Bangladesh's pharma-export market was in less than 30 countries. Now it has expanded to more than 130 destinations.

They have been trying to expand their market to different destinations, including in America and Europe.

"We have had a good market in Southeast Asia, Africa and the USA. Now we are trying to widen to Latin America. The Latin American market is still untapped for Bangladesh's pharmaceutical products," says the Square executive.

"Now we are working to enter the Latin American market as the Square Phrama has already obtained certification from Brazil," Mr Alam adds on their plans for spreading wings wider.

"I hope Bangladesh's market diversification will be continued and the country's total export volume will be boosted in the coming years," the Square Pharma ED told the FE.

Dr Arifur Rahman, a market analyst and honorary fellow of K2W Communications & Research, sees huge potential of Bangladesh to expand its pharma market to different Southeast Asian, African, CIA, Central Asian and Latin American countries.

"The government should facilitate the private sector to widen and diversify the pharmaceutical market through offering more policy and fiscal support with the aim of boosting the country's overall foreign-exchange earnings," he told the FE.

According to ACI Pharma, the firm exports to 30 countries, including Kenya, Ivory Coast, the Philippines, Nepal, and Myanmar. Besides, it also has product-marketing approval from 15 other countries.

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