EU- BANGLADESH BUSINESS CLIMATE DIALOGUE - PHARMACEUTICALS WORKING GROUP
Speech of HE Sophie Aubert, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh
Honorable Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed, Distinguished participants,
I really appreciate the initiative taken by the commerce ministry, to arrange the follow-up session of our 1st EU-Bangladesh Business climate dialogue.
I must say that some progress has been made so far by the working committee France has taken the lead, in the area of Pharmaceuticals business.
You may know that 15th November 2016, the meeting of the “Pharmaceuticals” working group took place, where representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Health, DGDA, French Embassy and European pharma companies were present.
We got some outcome from the meeting and I thank the government representatives for agreeing on some of the recommendations that were discussed during this meeting.
I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate all the actors who contributed to the development of a pharmaceutical industry in your country, for the benefit of the population. Today, Bangladesh is one of the few developing countries that is relatively drug sufficient.
Now, our goal is to demonstrate that a progressive loosening of your National drug policy will be beneficial, for your industry and for the people of the country.
Import of pharmaceuticals goods in Bangladesh is marginal and accounts for only 2% of the total domestic market: 112 M US$.
We believe that putting an end to the discrimination between local and foreign producers of medicines would contribute to a better healthcare system.
It should also make your companies more competitive and help the country export Bangladeshi medicines. We have a good example with Beximco pharmaceuticals company, which recently got the approval from US FDA.
If you allow me, I would like to insist on the decision taken by the Standing Committee on Importation of Pharmaceuticals on 22nd Nov 2016, which doesn’t reflect the Import Policy Order, but also which is not in line with what was agreed by the Health Ministry and DGDA during our working meeting, in November.
Total applied import quantity by the 3 EU laboratories (Sanofi, GSK and Novonordisk) was 1 515 000 (1.5 million) and total approved quantity by the Standing Committee was only 34 000.
It means that only 2.2% had been approved by the Standing Committee!
In practice, we see that the European Pharmaceutical Companies are still facing restrictions in importation of originator/research products by their authentic representative.
This restriction is depriving patients to get access to the originator products. Therefore, I would request once again to consider the health issue of the patients and allow the import of these goods.
Moreover, during the 15th November meeting, it was agreed that the companies would be informed in written about the decision of the Standing Committee.
In order to develop a smooth and a transparent process, I request you to take this point into consideration and develop a transparent procedure for the operation of the Standing Committee.
As a conclusion, I would like to insist on the fact that we concerned on the execution of the recommendations in reality.
In fact, the recommendations made by the working group are very important to implement because:
• First, it will ensure fundamental right of the patients to have access to medicines.
• Second, originator/research products are always referred as standard for both physicians and local generic manufacturers.
• Third, restriction on originator/research products will hamper the image of the country and will create obstacle to utilize the export opportunity. We don’t want to see the Bangladesh Pharma industry without having any originator/research products. You can imagine that it will also decrease the industry standard and reputation.
• And fourth, restriction on originator/research products will open a grey channel to smuggle those products in Bangladesh and further instigate the patients to go abroad for their treatment.
I thank you for your attention./.