With its vision to be one of the most trusted, admired and successful pharmaceutical companies in the region, Bangladesh-based Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (commonly known as Beximco Pharma) has had some extraordinary achievements over the years.
Current COO Rabbur Reza has been driving growth at the company since 2005 and attributes a large amount of its success to the owners, who have been smart enough to hire the right people and then trust them to get the job done. “Since its inception, Beximco Pharma has had a unique culture,” Rabbur says. “The company is being run by professionals and the owners do not interfere with the day-to-day activities. We have a very strong culture of trust, responsibility and ownership.”
Rabbur Reza takes Beximco global
This hands-off approach has allowed Rabbur the freedom to go right back to basics when setting his strategy for the company owner’s ambition to be a global company. “Until May 2005, we were present in several international markets, but those were predominantly in the Asian markets or the African market,” he says.
“The ambition was always to grow our market share in the bigger, more lucrative countries, like the US. I knew that first we had to form a good team – a really strong team in terms of R&D, manufacturing, quality control, and marketing.”
In fact, Beximco Pharma continues to invest heavily in all four of these areas in order to maintain its strong international presence. As a generic drug company, its R&D team develops a wide range of pharmaceuticals, giving top priority to building and strengthening its capabilities in formulating technologically complex products in order to create strong market differentiation.
Beximco Pharma cracks the US market
The team specialises in difficult-to-copy formulations in defined specialty areas, and has successfully developed multilayer tablets, sustained-release formulations, dispersible tablets, CFC-free inhalers, prefilled syringes, lyophilized injectables, as well as sterile ophthalmics for both the local and international markets.
Currently, it has a number of submissions with EU and US regulatory authorities, and there is a growing pipeline of submissions for the regulated markets. The first key breakthrough occurred in June 2015 when Beximco Pharma became the first Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company audited and approved by the US FDA.
On its first shipment to the US in 2016, Beximco Pharma Managing Director Nazmul Hassan said, “These initiatives are in line with our aspirations to expand our reach by taking products to the world. The US is the largest and most lucrative pharmaceutical market in the world. As a leading exporter of medicines, we always strive to capitalise on the generic drug opportunities in the world market. We believe our competitive products, especially specialised and differentiated generic products, will help strengthen our presence in the US and other advanced markets.”
An award-winning exporter
Today, Beximco Pharma is the largest exporter of pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh, winning the country’s National Export Trophy (Gold) a record five times, the highest national accolade for export. The company currently has a global footprint in more than 50 countries and has been accredited by a number of international regulatory authorities, including US FDA, AGES (EU), TGA Australia, Health Canada, GCC and TFDA.
The doctors think that we are a large, multinational company because of the kinds of things that we do here.
Not surprisingly, Rabbur says, “The doctors think that we are a large, multinational company because of the kinds of things that we do here.” This growth has also facilitated investment into state-of-the-art manufacturing plants. As well as some smaller sites, both in Bangladesh and abroad, the main manufacturing site is spread across a 22-acre area located near the capital, Dhaka.
Testament to Beximco Pharma’s respect for R&D and leading the market in innovation, the site has its own utility infrastructure that ensures adequate generation and distribution of electricity, as well as water-purifying and liquid-nitrogen generation facilities.
Quality medicine at an affordable price
All of this innovation and expansion, though, has been in pursuit of two main goals, as Rabbur explains: “We are a small company, but we try to do things differently, and appropriately. We never compromise on quality, and it’s the quality of how we interact with our supplier, the way we interact with our customers, the products that we manufacture; quality in everything.
“And one other thing you’ll see is that at the end of the day you need to give back something to the community, you know, because our goal has always been to provide quality medicine at an affordable price. I think a lot more companies have CSR programs these days, but it is really ingrained in all our activities. For example, in some cases we just supply medicine to people at cost price.”
In fact, responding to the evolving needs of society and making a meaningful impact on the quality of their lives is central to everything Beximco Pharma does.