Pharmaceutical products named ‘Product of the year 2018’
PM opens DITF in the capital
Published : Tuesday, 2 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 1500
For its higher exports and imports of raw materials for medicines in the domestic market, pharmaceutical products have been named 'Product of the year 2018'.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made this announcement while she was inaugurating this year's 23rd Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) in the city on Monday.
She said the pharmaceutical sector is a high-tech industry. Not only does the industry meet the demands of 98 per cent of the population, it currently exports to over 100 countries, including the US, the UK, the EU and Australia and it can reach the same level of international recognition and respect as RMG, she added.
Leather and leather products were named the 'Product of the Year' in 2017 as it was the second largest export sector last year after readymade garment.
Sheikh Hasina's cabinet colleagues, members of parliament, top government officials, leading exporters and business leaders and local and foreign representatives attended the event at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Commerce Chairman Tajul Islam Choudhury and Commerce Secretary Subhasish Basu and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Md Shafiul Alam also delivered speeches. Export Promotion Bureau Vice Chairman Bijoy Bhattacharjee gave the introductory speech.
The pharmaceuticals sector was recognised as product of the year at a time as it keeps booming with about 1400 generics and more than 23,000 brand named products and gradually entering to more than 150 countries of the world given its full potentials.
The industry currently meets 98 per cent of the local demand and apart from finished drugs it is also exporting active pharmaceuticals ingredients as pharmaceutical raw materials.
Stakeholders said the demand for Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products is growing around the world. They said the government's support can help boost export in the coming days.
As a Least Developed Country, Bangladesh can manufacture generic drugs with an exemption from obligations to implement patents and data protection for pharmaceutical products until 2033.
Bangladesh's pharmaceutical output has grown by a thousand times to $2 billion since 1982 - or around 1per cent of GDP - making it one of the largest white collar employers in the country, according to Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI).
The industry is the second highest contributor to the national exchequer with a total of 257 registered pharmaceuticals companies.
"We have the potentials to earn billions of dollars through exports but the sector needs fiscal benefits and policy support to do so," BAPI Secretary General SM Shafiuzzaman said.
"Declaring it the 'Product of the Year' is not enough. The government needs effectively patronise it to utilize its full potentials," he added.
He has sought support of the Export Promotion Bureau and the Commerce Ministry to utilize business opportunities in countries where there are demands for imported medicines.
The industry is now exporting pharmaceutical products and raw materials to 151 countries and the number can increase further if the embassy officials, i.e. ambassadors, economic ministers, or councilors of different countries can help to connect and promote Bangladeshi businesses with the businesses of other countries, he added.
"We need people in those countries with knowledge about the pharmaceutical industry so that they can arrange separate fairs in those countries to help Bangladeshi businesses showcase their products, which may help tapping new markets," Shafiuzzaman, also the managing director of Hudson Pharmaceuticals, added.
According to EPB, Bangladesh earned $43 million from exporting pharmaceutical goods in the first five month of the financial year 2017-18.
Square, Incepta, Beximco, Eskayef, Opsonin, ACI, Acme, and Drug International are among Bangladesh's top pharmaceutical companies.