The pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh is one of the growing industries in the country; with a market size of over BDT 27,000 crore, the sector is meeting 98% of the country’s total demand. The industry, which grew at an average rate of more than 15 percent (15.6%) per annum, had an export income of $169 million in FY 2020-21, which was generated by exporting medicines to 150 countries. In this context, Bangladesh ranks 71st in the world in terms of global pharmaceutical exports. At present, there are 257 pharmaceutical product manufacturing companies in the country. This article will introduce you to the top 7 pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh.
1. Square Pharmaceuticals Limited
Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, Bangladesh’s largest pharmaceutical company, was founded in 1958 by Samson H. Chowdhury and three of his friends Ratna Patra, Tapan Chowdhury and Kazi Harunar Rashid. The pharmaceutical manufacturing company was transformed into a public limited company in 1991, and in 1995 the company was publicly listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange.Square Pharmaceuticals currently manufactures a wide range of medicines, from tablets to syrups, capsules, injections, infusions, suppositories, and insulin. In addition to pharmaceuticals, the company also manufactures basic chemicals, animal health products, agro vet, and pesticide products. The company manufactures 669 different types of pharmaceutical products, as well as 74 agro-vet products, 32 pesticides, 14 pellets, and 8 basic chemicals.
Square started its journey in 1987 by exporting antibiotics and other pharmaceutical products. At present, Square exports drugs to a total of 42 countries in Asia, Africa, America, and Australia. In addition, Square Pharmaceutical Limited is the first company in Bangladesh to set up a manufacturing plant in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya at a cost of BDT 170 crore. At present about 10 thousand (9826) people are working in the company.
In the fiscal year 2020-2021 square generated a revenue of about BDT 58.35 billion. with a market share of 17.21% their domestic sales hit BDT 56.84 billion. They exported drugs worth BDT 1.51 Billion in that year. At present, Square Pharmaceutical dominates the market with a market share of 17.73% in the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh.
2. Incepta Pharmaceutical Ltd.
Incepta Pharmaceutical Ltd. is the second largest pharmaceutical company in the country with a market share of 10.21% in the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh. It was founded in 1999 by Abdul Muktadir. The pharmaceutical company, established as a concern of Impress Group, has two more sister concerns Incepta Vaccine and Neocare. Insepta Pharmaceuticals’ products include capsules, tablets, nasal sprays, eye drops and more than 600 generic drugs. The company also specializes in the preparation of medicines such as sustained-release tablets, quick-mouth dissolving tablets, effervescent tablets and insulin.
The drugs are manufactured at the company’s manufacturing plants in Savar and Dhamrai. Incepta operates its own distribution network through 28 depots across the country and employs about 10,000 people. Apart from Bangladesh, the drugs manufactured by the company are being exported to 78 countries of the world. Since its inception, Incepta has focused on launching new and innovative products.
Incepta and its sister concerns are currently manufacturing products such as human vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, biotech products, hormones, natural products, animal health products, hygiene products, and hospital devices. According to a January 2021 report in The Daily Star, Incepta Pharmaceutical has an annual turnover of BDT 2,755 crore.
3. Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd
In 1976, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd was established as a subsidiary of BEXIMCO Group founded by 2 brothers A.S.F Rahman and Salman F Rahman.During its early times, the company imported drugs from USA based Upjohn and Germany based Bayer. Later in 1980 through the Licensing Agreement, Beximco Pharma began manufacturing these drugs. Beximco is currently one of the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer and exporter in Bangladesh. The company specializes in the manufacture of generic drugs such as Intravenous Fluids, Therapeutic Nutrition Products, and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients or APIs. Currently, the company produces more than 300 generics in several therapeutic segments.
The most popular painkiller medicine of the country Napa is one of Beximco most sold products. The company is the third leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in Bangladesh with a market share of 8.39 percent in the domestic pharmaceutical sector. Beximco also exports products to more than 50 countries, including countries in the USA, European Union, Australia, and Canada. The company currently has more than 5,000 full-time employees.
Listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange, Beximco’s total revenue generated in the fiscal year 2020-21 was more than BDT 2,949 crore, of which Tk 2,633 crore was domestic sales. Besides, the company exports more than Tk 312 crore worth of products. Beximco is also listed as the first company in Bangladesh to be listed on the Alternative Investment Market on the London Stock Exchange. Beximco Pharmaceuticals also holds a 85.22-percent stake in Nuvista Pharma Limited and a 54.6-percent stake in Sanofi Bangladesh Limited.
4. Opsonin Pharma Ltd
Opsonin Pharma, a popular local pharmaceutical company in Bangladesh, was founded in 1956 by Abdul Khaleque Khan. The company currently ranks fourth in terms of pharmaceutical sales with a market share of 5.54 percent. Although Opsonin is primarily specialized in human health products, the company also manufactures animal health products. The company currently manufactures 428 brands of 393 generic drugs in various dosage forms including Capsule, Tablet, Injections, Syrup, Infusion, and Suppository.
In addition to the 32 regional offices across the country, Opsonin’s 500-acre manufacturing plant is located along the Kirtankhola River. In addition to the domestic market, the company is manufacturing pharmaceutical products for 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East, including South and Southeast Asia, which are part of the company’s export portfolio.
5. Renata Limited
Renata Limited is a popular pharmaceutical and animal health product companies in Bangladesh. Renata originally started its journey in 1972 as Pfizer Limited. However, after the sale of all shares of Pfizer Limited to local shareholders in Bangladesh in 1993, the name of the company was changed to Reneta Limited. At present, with a market share of 4.97 percent, the company is ranks 5th among the top pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Bangladesh. Renata Limited manufactures its products in Bangladesh through 10 factories at 3 manufacturing sites. In addition to rural and urban areas, Renata is also exporting medicines outside the country.
Renata has 19 depots across the country, through which the company can deliver medicines to local and global customers. Some of the company’s most popular products are Maxpro, Fenadine, Algin, Furosef, Orser, and Zithrin. Renata Limited had a net turnover of BDT 2,925 crore in the fiscal year 2020-21. The company currently has 8,000 employees, including doctors, chemists, microbiologists, pharmacists, engineers and others.
6. Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Limited
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Limited or HPL is currently ranked sixth among the leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in Bangladesh with a market share of 4.57% in the pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh. Healthcare started its journey in 1988 by associating with Roche (Bangladesh) Limited and establishing a company called Healthcare Distribution Limited. Subsequently, in 1996, Healthcare decided to develop its own pharmaceutical plant. Originally, Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Limited or HPL was established to manufacture Roche, and products imported from Switzerland and some local generics for the local market.
Until 2001, only Healthcare imported products from Roche for the local market. Apart from Bangladesh, HPL is currently exporting various brands of generic drugs to markets in Asia, Africa and the Commonwealth. Sergel a popular medicine for acidity is a product of Healthcare Pharmaceuticals. The company currently produces 120 generic to 210 branded products in various drug forms such as Tablets, Capsules, Liquids, Dry Syrups, Creams, Ointments, and Gel. In addition to the company’s extensive distribution network in Bangladesh, it has 13 storehouses across the country. In addition, the company currently has about 800 employees.
7. ACI Pharmaceuticals Limited
The company, Advanced Chemical Industries popularly known as ACI, is simultaneously a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of pharmaceutical and chemical products. ACI Pharmaceuticals is one of the widely known pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh with a market share of 4.43%. ACI Pharmaceuticals started its journey in 1992 as a subsidiary of ACI Limited. Although ACI Limited was originally started as a UK-based Imperial Chemical Industries Limited in 1968, the company was renamed ACI Limited in 1992 after selling all its shares to local shareholders. ACI Limited operates business through these 4 segments, namely Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Brands, Agribusiness, and Retail Chain Shops.
ACI Pharmaceuticals was the first company in Bangladesh to introduce ISO 9001 certified quality management system for the first time in 1995. The company produces 387 types of medications, such as tablets, capsules, injections, infusions, insulin, and suppositories.
ACI has a manufacturing plant in Narayanganj covering an area of 11.5 acres. In addition, the company has 18 warehouses across the country. About 235 skilled workers are working to prepare quality medicine for the company. At present about 5000 employees are working in ACI pharmaceuticals. The total revenue of the company in the fiscal year 2020-21 was BDT 1,224 crore. Since 1999, the company has started exporting its products outside the country. At present, ACI is exporting its medicines to a total of 30 countries across the world.