GSK, a UK-based science-led global healthcare company, is looking for a long-term future investment in Bangladesh to help people do more, feel better and live longer ensuring wider access to healthcare system, says one of its top official.
"Our long-term view is very positive about Bangladesh. It's growing," said Ramil Burden, Vice President of Developing Countries Asia and External Affairs Africa, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
He was talking to UNB and two others media outlets after wrapping up his three-day visit to Bangladesh at its Bangladesh office. Head of Communications, GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh Limited, Rumana Ahmed was also present.
The official said they are discussing future business investments for Bangladesh. "On top of that, to promote access to healthcare we're reinvesting 20 percent of our profits to build healthcare infrastructure by creating frontline health workers at the hard to reach haor area in Bangladesh."
The initiative invests more than GBP 1 million to create skilled birth attendants at Sunamganj haor areas in partnership with Ministry of Health and CARE.
On investment climate, Ramil who is responsible for external affairs, communications, public health and access programmes for Africa in addition to being responsible for GSK's operations in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Papua New Guinea, said it could have been better if there had been no political instability.
"But you know, in every country, every emerging market there're always some ups and downs. Some countries have currency risks, some countries have political risk and also some other problems," he explained.
Ramil said the investors must have a long term view as one cannot make long-term investment decision based on some short term currency problems and political problems.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is 'stable actually', the official said as a global healthcare company, its mission is to reach people and no one can 'exclude' and 'ignore' Bangladesh.
In their view, Ramil said, Bangladesh market is growing and will continue to grow. And its economy is also growing while people seek better healthcare services.
"As a healthcare market we're very positive about Bangladesh. We don't see Bangladesh as a massive profit market now. We do see it as a place for investment in the long term."
Responding to a question, he said Bangladesh obviously has many challenges and they want to be part of solutions to that.
One of the biggest challenges Bangladesh and other countries is to have frontline community healthcare workers and they are reinvesting their 20 percent profit annually in frontline healthcare workers to help build their capability which is in turn helping communities to access healthcare system.
The GSK official also said they have a long-term strategic plan for Bangladesh and are now working on what kind of investment they can make in the next five-ten years here. "We'll continue to invest in innovations, research and development and in the areas of unmet medical needs."
GSK do research and develop a broad range of innovative products in three primary areas of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare globally.
Ramil said historically the gap between a medicine being launched in the US and a medicine they launch in a country like Bangladesh can be very large. "It can be 10 years. We're very committed to make sure that the gap is placed to zero."
Laying emphasis on public-private partnership for better healthcare facilities in Bangladesh, Ramil said. "It's crucial. It's absolutely crucial and essential."
He thinks this partnership will help bring more benefit for people. "So it's a philosophical approach we think."
The official mentioned that GSK and Save the Children will support the establishment of an Academic Chair at BRAC University in Bangladesh, as part of their five-year collaboration to help save the lives of one million of the world's most vulnerable children.