DBL Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is the new venture of DBL Group, which is a diversified business entity having vertically integrated textiles and apparels manufacturing facilities, with concerns in Telecom, ICT & and Ceramic Tiles. DBL Group started business in 1991 and till to date it has resulted in a conglomerate of 18 concerns with an annual turnover of USD 365 Million for the year 2015-16. IFC, FMO Netherlands, DEG Germany, and OCEB Austria are some of the Development Financial Institutions who have made investments in projects of DBL Group.
Now DBL is in the process of building a state-of-the-art pharmaceuticals manufacturing facility with a vision of accomplishing WHO cGMP, UK MHRA, TGA and US FDA certifications to cater the local market and the global market as well for high-end Branded Generic Pharmaceutical Products and thus to contribute to the GDP and to the national exchequer. Its facility would be equipped with world class R&D to produce Built in quality (with QbD Approach) and bio-equivalent drug products and it will have all GMP regulations right from the day one. Mr. Mohammad Hanif brings out the possibility of Bangladesh pharmaceuticals industry along with the future prospect of DBL Pharmaceuticals.
As we know that pharmaceutical sector is one of the most emerging sectors of Bangladesh and you’ve vast experience in this genre of business, do you think that DBL Pharmaceuticals will be a competitive one?
Before entering into any business, we’ve to think whether this business would be viable or not. We must assess the current maturity level of the industry, its future growth potentials, competitive landscape and the market segments where opportunities prevail to exploreHowever, we know that Bangladesh pharmaceuticals market is on a greater height compared to the surrounding countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan even Singapore. We’re much ahead of these countries in terms of technology, people, knowledge, industry growth and experience. As per the IMS 3Q(MAT) 2016, Bangladesh PharmaceuticalsIndustry has achieved 38.30% growth over the previous year. So it is really phenomenal if we look at the global perspective. If you look at the world average, it will not exceed 9%. In Bangladesh, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is above 12%. IMS estimated the current market size,Tk.16,858 crore. But the real market size would be much above the IMS figure because there are so many untapped areas where the real data is not captured by the IMS. The actual sales of most of the companies are much above the IMS figures. So my estimation is that, the market size would not below Tk.20,000 crore. When DBL would launch its products in Bangladesh, the market size would be around two fold if such good growth continues.Along with that there remains a good amount of market for Herbal and Ayurvedic medicines. So considering the economic factors DBL Parma would enter in a very attractive market and would be a competitive and successful venture though there are some giant players who already consolidated their positions in this market. It’s true that for our successful market entry we must offer some distinct features to our products, and services. If we can create distinct positioning in terms of formulations, technology and business strategy, DBL Pharma will be very much in the race.
What do you think of ensuring the quality of your products?
In pharmaceutical industry, quality is the basic necessity.Without ensuring quality, no pharmaceutical company can survive in the present market and on the days to come. If we go to 20/30 years back, the local industry was not so much updated as of today in terms of knowledge and technology. But as the days went on, this industry progressed not only in terms of technology but also in terms of knowledge, regulations and quality parameters. On top of thatour regulatory authorities are becoming more structured day by day to upgrade the local regulatory norms in line with global requirements and being more authoritative to ensure the product quality. If we consider the existing quality parameters prevailing in Bangladesh market, DBL Pharma will surely ensure that for its products. There are so many aspects of product quality. If I say about the local standard, there are a number of companies who follow the local standard. If I say about the global standard like US or European standards, you will find a very few products. In US, each company must follow the parameters set by the originator products, like bio-equivalence, RM source, documentation and other regulatory normsset by FDA. Another important thing is that the generic product must use the raw materials of COS grade. In Bangladesh, only few companies follow the originators’ formulations and specifications for some of their products. DBL has plan to invest its best efforts to use the materials, formulations, equipment, and other components to make its products, which will deliverbio-equivalence and efficacy as like as the originators’ products. That’s our commitment and the challenge for us from the day one. Again DBL is the first pharmaceutical company of Bangladesh, which is going to start its operation in US before Bangladesh. Our manufacturing plant in Bangladesh is under construction and our 2nd manufacturing plant would be in Ethiopia. We want to build DBL as the first Bangladeshi Multinational Pharmaceuticals Company.
What technology will you introduce to make it an outstanding brand?
Yes, to be successful and sustain in the market it is important to make our brandsestablished, which depends on marketing strategy, and band building activities. Technology also has some definite role here. The product must offer some outstanding features.
Quality does not solelydepend on the machines, ratherit depends more on the knowledge and skills of the people, formulations, raw materials, and quality practices and here lies the catch. We shall deploy all the best resources and practices prevailing in the global pharmaceutical fields to make our products outstanding and then will do specific positioning and marketing activities to establish our brands.
What is the yearly turnover of current pharmaceuticals sector in Bangladesh and how far is it influencing our national GDP?
Already I’ve said that current pharmaceuticals market turnover is Tk.16,858Crore with 38.3% growth rate. Current contribution of healthcare sector in GDP is increasing. In 2003 it was 3.4% but in 2011 it stood around 4.4%. Currently the contribution of healthcare sector to GDP would be not less than 4.5%.
Currently we’re exporting medicine to many countries including Europe and America. Square, Beximco and Incepta have already established new export oriented manufacturing plant, do you’ve any plan to join the race of exporting medicine?
Recently Beximco Pharma started exporting a couple of products in US market. Before that ACI started marketing their products in US by manufacturing through third party CMO (Contract Manufacturing Organization). Two Bangladeshi companies got their BD plant approved by US FDA and a number of companies have achieved UK-MHRA and TGA (Australia) certification for their BD plants. Other than US and Europe,Bangladeshi companies are exporting to around 120 countries. DBL is in the process to establish a Pharmaceuticals R&D and manufacturing facility in US and Ethiopia. In fact we’re planning to start our business from US market.Next we shall launch our products to local market from our Bangladesh Facility and then we shall join the league for exporting our products to those export destinations.
Please let us know the foreign evaluation of our products in international market?
I’ve hosteda number of visitors while I have been working for the largest pharmaceuticals company of Bangladesh. After seeing the manufacturing facilities, documentation,quality practices, knowledge and skillsof our people, they highly praised our capabilities and competence. In fact among the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Bangladesh is one of the top notches in Pharmaceuticals sector. I think every professional would agree with me in this aspect. Foreign experts as well as the visitors from abroad highly appreciated the accomplishment of Bangladesh in this sector.
How does TRIPS agreement secure the future of Bangladesh Pharmaceuticals sector? Due to this agreement people are buying meds at a low cost. If this agreement gets annulled, what inversions will the pharmaceutical industry face?
Yes, we’re really fortunate that Bangladesh got another 17 years of exemption by the last TRIPS agreement for producing patented pharmaceuticals products along with liberty of exporting those products. Here the question of APIs backs. We’ve to import almost 80% of the raw materials from other countries for manufacturing final products in Bangladesh.If TRIPs is enacted in those countries, they will not be able to produce the APIs of patented products. In that case the cost of raw materials would increasebut the quality would also increase as well.
What is your future plan with DBL Pharmaceuticals?
Our future plan is to join hands with the global partners for oncology products manufacturing. With their technological support we want to make a highly equipped oncology products manufacturing facility in Bangladesh to cater the local market as well as the global market. Finally, inspired with the aforesaid objectives, DBL will accentuate manufacturing quality medicines at affordable price by the best utilization of its expertise and endeavor. Its focus will be to create huge employment opportunities for Bangladeshi professionals and thus to contribute to the economic growth of the country”.
“Entrepreneurship is an art, a great combination of knowledge, creativity and full-length courage. But only the professionals can make any entrepreneur’s initiative successful. If an entrepreneur fails to bring success to his venture, this is the utter loss for the country. Before stepping into a business any investor should study the whole gamut of that business and asses the market demand to find where future and opportunities lie. An investor also need tochoose the right professionals for performingdifferent functions of the business. And of course,professionals should get the liberty and authority to play because it is their duty to make a business venture successful by the best utilization of their knowledge and skill. The synergy of professionals’ passion, dedication, honesty, and integrity with entrepreneurs’ support can bring the success to any business initiative. Again no theory can make a company successful if there is no team work. For making a company successful, a total team work is needed. No supermanalone can make a company successful whatever the quality he or she might have unless getting the team effort. So letall theteam members feel that each of them is an integral part of the company.At the end of the day I strongly believe “It is more important to be a good person rather to be a successful person in life”.