Bangladesh - Country Commercial Guide
Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-17

Overview

The healthcare sector in Bangladesh has experienced increased growth in recent years.  Bangladesh is the only least developed country (LDC) that meets nearly 98 percent of its domestic demand for pharmaceutical products, with a market size of approximately $3 billion.  In addition, Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products are exported to some 150 countries and generated $169 million in fiscal year 2020-21.  With an annual two-digit growth rate, the Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry is now heading toward self–sufficiency in meeting local demand.  There are more than 300 small, medium, and large enterprises operating in the country producing pharmaceuticals; the top ten producers make up approximately two-thirds of the market.

The Government of Bangladesh encourages foreign companies to partner with local companies in producing drugs and high-tech and specialized products.  Regulations have eased, allowing foreign companies to export medical products to Bangladesh. 

Bangladesh offers opportunities for U.S. exporters of high-end medical equipment, surgical instruments, diagnostic equipment, and services.  Imported medicines and medical devices are subject to customs duties depending on types and classes.  Anti-cancer drugs, vaccines, hormonal contraceptives, and other products can be imported without tax.  The medical device sector is not currently strictly regulated, although a policy for doing so has been drafted and awaits approval.  To enter the healthcare sector in Bangladesh a company is required to provide the necessary application and supporting documents.  For pharmaceutical companies, applications go to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA).

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) is responsible for formulating national-level policy, planning, and decision-making concerning healthcare and education.  The national-level policies, plans, and decisions are translated into action by various implementing authorities and healthcare delivery systems across the country, from the national to the community level.  The Ministry and its relevant regulatory bodies also have indirect control over the healthcare system of the NGOs and the private sector.  The majority of high-quality medical institutions are centered in the city of Dhaka which acts as the hub for disseminating medical services across the country. 

Any direct foreign investor in Bangladesh must submit a project proposal to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) for review before receiving approval.  Once registered with BIDA, companies investing in hospitals and medical education must obtain a license from the Directorate General for Health Services (DGHS).  Pharmaceutical and medical device companies in turn must go through DGDA for licensing.  However, companies seeking these licenses must be vetted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the main entity responsible for all healthcare sub-sectors.   

Leading Sub-Sectors

Medical Devices; Clinical Lab Trials; Waste Management; Safe Water Drinking; Sanitation Coverage.

Opportunities

Dietary supplements; pharmacovigilance; cosmetics; veterinary and human vaccines; disease modifying drugs; hormonal therapies.

Resources

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA)

Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries