Unlike many other products and services medicine or drugs is directly related to human life and therefore, its manufacturers have immense social responsibility of providing safe and effective medicine, demanding uncompromising efforts, at all levels of their activities.
Market Research has a significant role to play in order to design and implement successful marketing program for the company. Marketing Research is being used by all kind of organizations and for a wide range of purposes. In today’s market, information is a major competitive edge for any company. For manufacturing company it is essential to know the customer needs and satisfaction level, market position, competitors’ position and how the company implements their marketing strategies. So, Marketing Research Department can play a vital role to answer all of these questions through collected by relevant, accurate, reliable, valid and current information. Market Research Dept. can help the top management by providing that information for effective decision-making as well to facilitate the designing and implementation of important marketing strategies (like- promotion, advertising, positioning ) and solving the problem successfully to compete in the marketplace successfully.
BEXIMCO pharmaceuticals Ltd is one of the leading health care companies in Bangladesh and has been making every effort to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the medicines that it produces. Physicians and patients of the company reply on the efficacy of the medicines of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals LTD. at the time of critical needs demonstrating their confidence and trust on BPL products. BPL has a remarkable mission statement, which is being seriously pursued in its thoughts and actions. An increasing amount of contribution is ploughed back into social causes demonstrating BPL’s commitment to the nation. As BPL continues to grow, it should not only benefit itself but it should also positively contribute to the nation and society where it operates.
BPL believes that they manufacture and sell medicine to provide health, happiness and smile back in life of our fellow citizens. In their own words-“We intend to help realize the ultimate aspiration of the nation for a lifetime of good health ensuring a healthier tomorrow for the people”
Market Research Dept. of BPL conducts the survey activities for collecting the important information which is used for enhancing the overall profitability and market share of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL). This report has been prepared to find out how effective the current market research activities are and in what ways can it be much more productive to BPL.
Origin of the Report:
Today, practical experience is as much essential as academic education that enables someone to become a successful business executive. We live in world where every business student must gain some first hand knowledge of real life business in order to learn the art of blending his or her theoretical knowledge with the real life scenario.
Internship report is one of the most important and mandatory activities for each of the MBA students. I have selected to work as an intern in one of the leading company in the pharmaceuticals field that is “BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL)” a concern of BEXIMCO Group. BEXIMCO Pharmaceutical Ltd is the manufacturer and marketer of pharmaceutical products under chemical divisions of the BEXIMCO Group. BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh. It also is one of the biggest exporters of pharmaceutical product by a Bangladeshi based company. BPL is the first Bangladeshi company to supply pharmaceutical product to Riffles Hospital which the most prestigious hospital of Singapore. This underlines BPL’s undisputed status in its industry.
This report has been prepared under the kind supervision of Dr. Razia Begum, Professor, Department of Marketing, and University of Dhaka. During the internship period at BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd I worked under Mr. Md. Faizul Haque, Manager, Marketing Research and Statistical Cell (MRC) Department. BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd, asked me to prepare a report on the effectiveness of market research of the BPL and to suggest ways to make it even more meaningful. Dr. Razia Begum, Professor, Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka accepted the proposal to supervise the report as guide on behalf of the Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka.
Title of the Report
The title of the internship report is – ‘Survey of prescription outputs of Beximco Pharma products against competitors, with proposals for improving the present survey system”
Objective of the Report:
- To fulfill the requirement of MBA degree as necessitated by the Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka.
- To broaden my knowledge and understanding of marketing by adding practical experience in a real business set up to my acquired knowledge in the classroom.
- Analyze the Effectiveness of the market research activities of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd in comparison to the other leading pharmaceutical companies.
- To find out the market research procedure as followed by BEXIMCO.
- Get a clear picture of how the surveyors’ carry out their activities in the field.
- To find out in what ways the market research department serves the company in decision making.
- To Figure out the strengths and the weaknesses of the market research department at BEXIMCO.
- To find out the aspects in which the market research activities of BEXIMCO differ from those undertaken by the competing pharmaceutical companies in the industry.
- To suggest recommendations for the improvement of the level of efficiency of the market research activities of BEXIMCO
For the purpose of this study a comparative analysis of the market research activities of the various pharmaceutical companies has been done. Moreover the details about the market research department of BEXIMCO Pharmaceutical Company has been collected and analyzed. Therefore descriptive research design was undertaken to fulfill the main purpose of the study.
Search For Secondary Data
- Study reports on Bangladesh pharmaceuticals market
- Market research done by BPL
- Information published by Information Medical Statistics (IMS)
- Reference books on the pharmaceuticals marketing
The questionnaire method was used for the purpose of the report. Market research officers were provided with the questionnaires to find out their responses to the BPL strategy. To make the report en even more comprehensive one, market research employees from other leading pharmaceutical companies were also questioned on order to draw a comparative picture.
I have discussed with my supervisor for the formulation of report
I have collected primary data through a questionnaire. The questionnaire was given to the field level workers of various leading pharmaceutical companies as well as to the personnel working at the market research department. I have also collected information through conversation with Mr. Ghulam Makhdum Hussain, Senior. officer of the MRC Dept. and some other market research Officers of BPL.
The secondary source of information were the internet, different textbooks, annual reports of BPL and some written information provided by the MRC Department of BPL.
Limitations of the Study:
Like any other study this study has also got some limitations:
- Every study like this requires considerable time to become a comprehensive one. Due to lack of more time a larger amount of data could not be collected.
- As there is no organized collection of studies done in this field, the literature review part cannot be said to a comprehensive one.
- No one actually expresses their inefficiencies or the inefficiencies of their company in general. So there is a possibility that the research personnel interviewed may have hidden some important aspects.
- As I am a business student, it sometimes became difficult for me to identify the name of the product referred to by the doctors in the prescription for the lack of training and skills.
The systematic design, collection, analysis, and reporting of data relevant to a specific marketing situation facing an organization. (Principals of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: 138
Market share is the proportion of total sales received by a company and its competitors. (Marketing Research, Naresh K. Malhotra, Page :88)
Market Growth Rate
Market growth rate provides a measure of market attractiveness. . (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: 54)
A situation analysis is a technique for matching organizational strength and weakness with environmental opportunities and threats to determine the organizations right which is known as SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat). Every organization should be able to identify the purpose for which it is best suited. Strategies are faced not with snapshot of the environment and the organization but with a movie of rapidly changing event. Strategic planners whether top managers, key operating manager or staff planning specialist, have many way to scan environment for opportunities, threats, strength and weakness.
Recruitment is discovering of potential applicants for actual or anticipated job vacancies. ( Human Resource Management, Stephen P. Robbins, Page : 622).
It is the process of recording of behavioral pattern of people, objective, and event in a systematic manner to obtain information about the phenomenon of interest. (Marketing Research, Naresh K. Malhotra, Page : 196 )
A set of buyers sharing common needs or characteristics that the company decides to serve. (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: Glossary-10)
It is the process of identify key competitors, assessing their objective, strategies, strength, weakness, reaction pattern, and selecting which competitors to attack or avoid. (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: Glossary-2)
Point of Difference
Point of difference is advantages over the competitors gained by offering consumers gather value, either through lower price or by providing more benefits that justify higher price. (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: 270)
It is a marketing logic whereby the business unit hopes to achieve its marketing objective. (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: Glossary-6)
A runner-up firm in an industry that is fighting hard to increase its market share. . (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: Glossary-5)
The firm in an industry with a largest market share, it usually leads other firm in price changes, new product introduction, distribution coverage, and promotion spending. . (Principal of marketing, Philip Kotler, Page: Glossary
Organizational Overview of BEXIMCO Group
BEXIMCO is the largest business conglomerate of the private sector in Bangladesh. Apart from the national government BEXIMCO employs highest number of people in the country which numbers over twenty five thousand. Over the years since starting its journey it had gained a position through an effective management, efficient fund generation, and timely diversification. Today it is an established business concern in the country’s business arena.
BEXIMCO practices an appropriate combination to delegate authority and responsibility that works to motivate employees and yield better performance for the company as a whole. Recruiting the efficient and potential people, planning to develop human resources, exploring business opportunities, and information management have strengthened the effectiveness and image of the group.
Mission of The BEXIMCO GROUP
“Each of our activities must benefit and add value to the common wealth of our society. We firmly believe that, in the final analysis we are accountable to each of the constituents with whom we interact; namely: our employees, our customers, our business associates, our fellow citizens and our shareholders. Each of our activities must benefit and add value to the common wealth of our society. We firmly believe that, in the final analysis we are accountable to each of the constituents with whom we interact; namely: our employees, our customers, our business associates, our fellow citizens and our shareholders.”
Concerns of the BEXIMCO Group
BEXIMCO is a group of 34 companies and most of these are being operated through eight divisions. These divisions are created with the inclusion of the companies that are strategically related. The divisions namely are as follows:
The side branches are the divisions. The segments at the bottom of the tree are not considered, as division rather exists at their names.
The number of companies in each division is different. The companies of BEXIMCO group in relation to division have been elaborated as follows:
LIST OF MAJOR COMPANIES INCLUDED IN BEXIMCO GROUP
Padma Textile Mills Ltd.
BEXIMCO Synthetics Ltd.
BEXIMCO Apparels Ltd.
BEXIMCO Knitting Ltd.
BEXIMCO Textiles Ltd.
BEXIMCO Denims Ltd.
BEXIMCO Fashions Ltd.
BEXIMCO Fabrics Ltd.
BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
BEXIMCO Infusions Ltd.
Pharmatek chemicals Ltd.
I&I Services Ltd.
Real state & Construction Division
BEXIMCO Engineering Ltd.
Shinepukur Holdings Ltd.
Bangladesh Export Import Ltd.
BEXIMCO Holdings Ltd.
New Dacca Industries Ltd.
Sonali Ansh Ltd.
Esses Exporters Ltd.
Marine Food Division
BEXIMCO Foods Ltd.
BEXIMCO Fisheries Ltd.
BEXIMCO Media Ltd.
Information Technology Division
BEXIMCO Softech Ltd.
BEXIMCO Systems Ltd.
BEXIMCO Computers Ltd.
Bangladesh Online Ltd.
Brief of the Divisions
The divisions of the BEXIMCO group have been introduced as following in a brief way.
This division consists of 8 companies, represents BEXIMCO in country’s fastest growing apparel business sector. BEXIMCO is now leading this trend with capacity, variety, and quality of the products. BEXIMCO produces polyester yarn, makes different fabrics and mostly supports its own garment business. This is an example of backward linkage that would have been done in Bangladesh in order to strengthen the garment business. BEXIMCO Denims Ltd. is the only denim fabric producer in Bangladesh.
BEXIMCO has two separate facilities to produce jute yarns that are among largest in the country. Until the jute business has got the setback in international market this division was one of the prime contributor to the group and the country as well. The main operation was to produce the jute yearn and export. BEXIMCO is the pioneer of making jute yarn and twine for Axminister carpet and served 12% of the total demand of these kinds in the world market. Although today it does not seem to sketch prospective future of it.
Real EState & Construction
It has two companies within this division. One is involved in construction named as BEXIMCO Engineering. It established its credibility through successfully contributing as the largest local partner for the Bangabondhu Jamuna Bridge construction. The other one Shinepukur Holding is operating its business in land development and apartment building. It aims to contribute in solving city accommodation crisis.
This group added significantly to the group through success in fisheries business. Its project location is in Cox’s Bazar. The turn over of the group was also boomed by the contribution of the export of marine foods to international market.
This division holds the initial business trend of BEXIMCO , indeed. It looks for the opportunity of import-export the commodities that have the demand in the market. This division is really dynamic and high profit contributing to the group. With a brand portfolio that includes Wartsilla SA (generation equipment), Arjo Wiggins (security & treasury papers) of France, and DuPont Inc. (chemicals), Sterling Diagnostic Imaging Inc. (film products) and Valvoline Inc. (petroleum products and industrial lubricants) of the USA. The Trading Division also represents overseas marine food buyers by acting as a sourcing agent on their behalf and providing quality control.
The companies included in this division are BEXIMCO Computers, BEXIMCO Systems, and BOL Online. BEXIMCO Computers Ltd. is still the nation’s largest volume re-seller of IBM PCs. With the launch of a new version of BexiBank, an integrated multi-user, multi-tasking banking application system, BEXIMCO Computer Ltd.’s software is in use at over 300 branches of 15 major banks nationwide.
BEXIMCO ‘s first foray into education, BEXIMCO Systems Ltd. is joint venture collaboration with the largest information technology institute of India, NIIT. Modeled after NIIT’s highly successful training centers across India, the NIIT Centers in Bangladesh have the highest growth rate of any NIIT facility for enrollment levels in its short courses and degree programs.
Bangladesh Online Ltd. (BOL), BEXIMCO ‘s Internet company launched its operation in August of 1998. The company has the fastest access among ISPs in Bangladesh.
This division to serve group’s interest in the most booming sectors of the world that is Information Technology. Since it started operation it proceeded very fast and became the market leader soon. It is pioneer company in Bangladesh to offer complete solution of automation. It also introduces the brand IT products to this country.
It is involved in publication of dailies and monthlies both in English and Bengali. The publications are “The Daily Mukto kantha”, “the Daily Independent”, fortnightly The Ananda Bhuban, Shaili, and weekly Onneysa. The Bengali daily newspaper has been closed its operation. Although BEXIMCO ‘s first foray into the media field was just three years ago, its products have made significant inroads into the publishing arena. BEXIMCO has also launched a news agency, the Associated Press of Bangladesh, to provide up-to-date and accurate news-feeds to the Bangladeshi press.
Shinepukur Ceramics manufactures and markets high quality porcelain and Bone china tableware in collaboration with NIKKO, a premier Japanese Company. It promotes elegance and distinction for both international and local users of tableware.
Shinepukur Ceramics plans to export the majority of its production to the global market and is backed by the long-standing experience and competence of its people. The company has invested in state-of-the-art machinery and technology. All of its products are manufactured under strict international quality control guidelines.
Apart from divisional identity there are some more companies being operated within the group’s corporate structure.
BEXIMCO Chemical Division consists of four companies and is mainly involved in pharmaceutical business so far.
BEXIMCO Chemical Division with its annual turnover of fifty five million dollars is perceived as the flagship of the BEXIMCO Group. Products and services offered by the Chemical Division are trendsetters in the country.
This division is comprised of the following companies:
- BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- BEXIMCO Infusions Ltd.
- Pharmatek Chemicals Ltd.
- I & I Services Ltd.
BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd. or BPL is one of the leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country. BPL manufactures and markets a high quality and cost-effective range of about 80 formulations covering all major therapeutic groups. The commissioning of BPL’s Basic Chemicals Unit in 1990, established a very significant milestone in the history of the country’s chemical industry. It not only met 90% of the country’s demand for two vital raw materials, ampicillin and amoxycillin but also started selling these to overseas markets, including South Korea and Malaysia.
Pharmatek Chemicals Ltd.
Pharmatek Chemicals Ltd. is the leading bulk producer of paracetamol in Bangladesh. It caters to almost 60% of the local market and supplies its products to both national and multinational companies operating in Bangladesh. The company is managed and operated by BPL under a long term management contract
I & I Services Ltd.
I & I Services Ltd. Is the distribution wing of the Chemical Division. It maintains a large distribution network and covers 20,000 customers nationwide. A highly sophisticated order processing system, logistic facilities in terms of vehicles, depots, and a team of professional sales staff keep pace with the ever-increasing market demand for timely execution of orders and quality services.
BEXIMCO PHARMACEUTICALS LIMITED:
BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is one of the four companies strategically included in the BEXIMCO Chemical Division. BPL attained turnover of Tk. 2.453 billion during 2000.
It all began in 1980 when BPL’s first product made under license of Bayer AG, Germany rolled out of a small manufacturing plant in Tongi, Dhaka. Products made under license of Upjohn Incorporated, USA followed. After its initial years of struggle it broke ground with the launching of its own products in 1983. Today, BPL holds almost 15% share in the domestic market.
The commissioning of BPL’s Basic Chemicals Unit in 1990, established a very significant milestone for it. It not only met 90% of the country’s demand for two vital raw materials, ampicillin and amoxycillin but also started selling these to overseas markets, including South Korea and Malaysia.
“Each of our activities must benefit and add value to the common wealth of our society”
Subdivisions of the Chemical Division:
BPL operates its business through extensive departmentalization as needed. This is for specified effectiveness of the tasks. The business activities of BPL, BIL and PCL are directed, controlled and monitored from the head office of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd. located at 7A, Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Being a leading Pharmaceutical company in the country it employs good number of people in different departments to keep its business thriving. The following major departments coordinate the activities of BPL, BIL and PCL:
- Central product management (CPM) department
- Planning department
- Purchase Department
- Sales department
- Sales education and training department
- Medical services department
- Market Research & Statistical Cell
- International marketing & fine chemicals department
- MIS department
- Finance and Accounts department
CPM stands for Central Product Management that takes care the total marketing of a product. It includes
- Selection of new product
- Design of new product
- Design of packaging
- Introduction of the product to the market and others
The planning department ensures smoothness of total operation of BPL. It is concerned with the following:
- The production planning and
- Raw material procurement.
- Inventory Planning
Based on sales forecast from the CPM planning department breaks up the yearly sales forecast to monthly basis and develop the planning of production, purchase and stock maintenance. It also initiates the negotiation of purchase. It refers the suppliers’ quotations to the purchase departments.
Planning department try to ensure buffer stock of three months of all the raw materials to meet any untoward events or circumstances in market.
The purchase department is concerned with all the purchases of BPL. Apart from purchasing it keeps the record for tracking the costs of the company. This department works in coordination with planning department for negotiation and price fixing.
To follow the recent management of the business world the sales department has been completely separated from marketing department. It sets the forecast in coordination with marketing department and upon fixation of the sales it is the responsibility of the sales department to realize the yearly sales volume forecasted. The departmental works in following pattern:
Medical representatives are farthest unit of the organization. They are to generate demand for products. They are trained before sent for field.
Training department is to provide the training to the medical representatives of the company. This training is necessary to improve the quality of job-related function. The curriculum of training varies from group to group. The department basically offers 4 types of training programs:
- Induction Training Programs (for MRs )
- Supervisory Management Programs (for FSs)
- Advanced Supervisory Management
- Refresher Training Programs (for everyone in sales in as and when basis).
The MRs are virtually the direct product of this training department. The selling skill of the MRs are dig out through the training session on that ultimately BPL depends for attaining its target sale.
The MIS department is the department that takes care of total automation of BPL. It supports the hardware and network of the company and the factory. It maintains the automation regularly and keeps the pace with the global IT. The MIS department also maintains the radio-link between the factory and the head-office.
Though separately dealt before, recently software department has been incorporated with MIS department. This software section is to work for developing software solutions as per organizational requirements. It also supports the other companies’ requirements of the chemical division. The facilities of MIS department are available round the clock for 24 hours.
MSD stands for Medical Services department. It is a unique department in this industry as BPL established this first ever in order to create easy relationship through using the professional linkage with the doctors, the ultimate customer of the pharmaceutical companies.
This is a supporting department that provides services (e.g., slide preparation, providing different journals, books etc.) to the health professional on different issues and receives feedback from them. It arranges seminars on different issues such as diseases and their cures in different parts of the country. It publishes a special ‘Medical Newsletter’ quarterly and sends the current issues to the enlisted doctors at free of cost. The newsletter consists of important, recent medical articles. It also provides news gathered from Internet and allows free browsing facility for the doctors. Thus it helps the medical community and at the same time increases the company image outside.
Market Research & Statistical Cell:
The department began its operation for the purpose of working on market development – both domestic and international. It assists product development and marketing of new products. The product development process is as follows:
Quality Assurance (in each stage in factory) and Quality Control improvement is another concern of this department. It suggests the SOP (Standard Operating Guideline), which is the biggest part of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). It is mention that by practice BPL follows the highest standard of quality suppose as suggested by WHO. Purchase and material management coordination is also included within responsibilities of this department.
It is note that BPL has started marketing its product internationally. This department is concerned with the international promotion and marketing of BPL finished products and basic chemicals. It analyzes country analysis in terms of health status, economy, market and its growth, legal bounds of entering the market with its product etc to find the feasibility to market its products.
BPL has been able to establish a very successful international marketing network in Asia, Middle East and Africa. In 2001, BPL signed and agreement with one of the leading distributors of Singapore with an objective to consolidate its presence in Singapore market. In Pakistan, BPL comes into an agreement with one of the leading local companies to manufacture BPL brands locally and to market the same in Pakistan market. So, far BEXIMCO has market its presence in 22 countries. These countries are.
- Hong Kong.
- South Korea
BPL is the only pharmaceutical company that has a multimedia department. This department is helping in the promotional activities of BPL. It designs medical videos for the doctors. The color, size, shape, lettering etc. of the text are carefully selected to attract the target audience easily.
It has designed some Kiosks that have been placed in some medical colleges for the students to learn and be trained.
The department also provides audio-visual aids to other departments of the company and also assists to decorate the publications.
Finance and Accounts Department:
There are three sections in this department.
q Treasury section
q Accounts section
q Cost and budget section
Treasury section deals with banks and bills. It also looks after the cash planning and management.
Accounts section is there to maintain all records and transactions. it is automated with aid of the software named MAPICS (Manufacturing Accounting Planning Information Control System).
Cost and budget section identifies the cost centers and prepares the budget. Cost section calculates the product cost and cost of goods sold. The annual budget preparation starts at October. Budget review is done quarterly (internally) and half-yearly (by the top management). It compares the budgeted and actual sales and expenses and prepares reports on them.
SWOT Analysis of BPL:
Upon study of the organization BPL some of the findings are as follows:
BPL is one of the leading companies in the pharmaceutical industry of the country and could attain almost 15% of the local market. The strength of attaining such position in the industry are:
As survey showed that 27 of BPL’s products are found to be brand leaders out of 47 products surveyed while 10 stand at second place.
BEXIMCO has secured market recognition in the market through innovative marketing strategies and aggressive product promotion. The company’s strong support to the medical community has gained its brand loyalty from the doctors.
The market is expected to grow by 15 to 20% per annum for the next 5 years. The compounded annual growth for the previous 6 years was 15%. The next stage of growth is expected to come from backward integration to manufacture high volume raw materials, introduction of Hi-Tech manufacturing process that are difficult to imitate products, and exports.
BPL is keen to diversify its capacity of produce and market. Strong export demand and international product registration have led BPL to embark on a massive capacity expansion as evident in expansion of plant and establishment of new plant in compliance with FDA (Federal Drug Association) quality mark .
Recently BPL signed a new contract for loan of about 1100 million BDT for its FDA (Federal drug Administration) compliant plant that costs over BDT 3,000 million BDT.
Basic Chemicals and Multipurpose Chemical Plant
Currently bulk antibiotics amoxycillin, ampicillin, and cloxacillin are being produced with an installed capacity of 35 tons per month. It is going to introduced Cephalexin and Cephradine very soon; like-wise in its multi purpose unit, production of Amlodipine, Fluconazole, Clotrimazole, Cetirizine Hcl, Tramadol, and Riboflavin 5-phosphate sodium.
There are some of the sectors where BPL has not entered but that possess ample opportunities. One of such sector is SVP or small volume Parenteral that is known as injections in the market. Due to having the quality attainment capability as evident in producing IV products, expertise and resource BPL should immediately think of this product and decide upon having the feasibility study.
International market is also another very lucrative sector for BPL. In the world market the low cost of product is an important upper hand for BPL to market its product. The new FDA compliant plant will assist BPL to confirm the world market about the quality of its products.
The company does not produce any kind of injectibles. The company can increase its market share by producing injectibles.
BPL has a narrower product line and number of products than its principal competitors in the market. Unless the product line and number of product are expanded the market share of BPL will be endangered in near future.
Competition from the local pharmaceutical companies and the very specifically in context of price is a major threat for BPL. The poor economic status of Bangladesh requires a low price of drugs to ensure public health. For the reasons like high cost of maintaining quality of products and high distribution cost etc the products of BPL cost higher than that of other companies. As a result BPL is in fear of loosing market in the rural areas of Bangladesh.
The year 2005 will be crucial for BPL as well as for all other local pharmaceutical companies. Currently Bangladesh market is protective for facilitating the local companies in pharmaceutical sectors in such way that any product able to meet the local demand cannot be imported. Also till to date companies can buy basic ingredients of pharmaceutical products at very low cost materials from India and China as these country do not follow the international patent law. However after implementation 2005 GAT (General Agreement of Trade) being a signatory Bangladesh will be in pressure to not buy the raw materials from the country those will not follow global patent law. GAT will pursue product patent registration system and royalty on patent will be enforced. As a result the raw material cost would go higher than now. This will eventually endanger BPL further as it is already in crisis due to having high product price.
Major Achievement of BPL:
1976 : Registration of the company.
1980 : Started manufacturing and marketing of licensee products of Bayer AG of Germany and Upjohn Inc. Of USA
1985 : Listing in the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) as a Public Limited Company.
1990 : Commissioning of Basic Chemical Unit.
1992 : Started export operation with Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (apis).
1993 : First export market operation with finished formulation.
1996 : Introduction of Sustained Release Dosage Form.
1997 : Introduction of Suppository Dosage Form Commissioning of Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) plant Introduction of Metered Dose Nasal Spray.
1998 : First pharmaceutical company of the country achieving ‘National Export Trophy (Gold)’for 1994-95.
1999 : UNICEF approval of BPL as an enlisted supplier.
2000 : Agreement to manufacture Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) for Glaxo smithkline.
2001 : Introduction of Small Volume Parenterals (Injectables) Establishment of Analgesic-Antiinflammatory API plant 2002 : Won the first prize of ICAB National Awards 2000 for ‘Best Published Accounts and Reports’in Non- Financial Sector Category The first Bangladeshi company to supply pharmaceuticals to Raffles Hospital- the most prestigious hospital of Singapore.
2003 : Received ‘National Export Trophy (Gold)’for consecutive 2 years (1998-99, 1999-2000) Won the Silver prize of ICAB National Awards 2003 for ‘Best Published Accounts and Reports’in Non-Financial Sector Category. Won a tender to supply Neoceptin R and Neofloxin to Raffles Hospital of Singapore for the whole year’s consumption. Introduced Anti-HIV drugs for the first time in Bangladesh. Diversification into Anti-Cancer therapeutic class.
2004: signed contract with Novartis to manufacture their liquid, cream, ointment and suppository products under “Toll Manufacturing “agreement. Visit of Saudi delegated by Hon’ble Minister, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
2005: Merger of BEXIMCO Infusions Ltd. With BEXIMCO pharmaceuticals Ltd. Admission to alternatives Investment market (AIM) of London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Products of BPL:
BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Limited does not simply believe in introducing new molecules, it also believes in creating the difference in the market place by offering impeccable quality. BPL stands on the heritage of bringing innovative medicine to people. BPL’s products are all intended to help people to live healthy lives. BPL’s portfolio features a range of high quality, effective products, some are the first of their kind and many are ranked number one in their therapeutic area.
A team of highly qualified people sets BPL’s product feature and attribute. Arts and science are blended together inside BPL’s products. BPL’s products are designed and engineered in such manner that their overall presentation, size, shape, color, flavor, viscosity, coating, etc are completely different from those of the competitors. Whatever may be the dosage form or packaging-blister, strip, bottle, cartons, labels, etc, BPL’s presentations are widely recognized for their best aesthetic look among all competitive brands.
BEXIMCO offers a comprehensive range of about 80 formulations in various dosage forms such as tablets, inhalers, capsules, creams, suspensions, syrups, suppositories, etc. From anti-ulcerates to vitamins, antibiotics to bronchodilators. BEXIMCO has a widely diversified product portfolio. Every year the company introduces new products. In 2003 BPL launched 12 new products.
In Bangladesh, BEXIMCO enjoys very high brand loyalty. Many BPL products are brand leaders in their respective categories. Neoceptin-R BEXIMCO ‘s ranitidine formulation has 15.5% market share and has been the brand leader for a number of years. It is BEXIMCO ‘s highest selling product. Napa, BEXIMCO ‘s paracetamol reign the analgesic markets with a 27.5% market share and has been the brand leader for the 10 th consecutive year.
BPL’s asthma inhalers have enjoyed excellent sales growth over the years and have received huge response from the patient and doctors. Other therapeutic classes of drugs where BPL brand still lead include ACE inhibitor, systemic anti fungal, respiratory anti inflammatory, prostatic drug, topical anti hemorrhoid, digestive enzyme, etc.
Brand name Dosage Form Generic name & strength
Lucidol Capsule Tramadol. HCI 50mg
Napa Tablet Paracetarnol 500 mg
Syrup Paracetamol 120mg/5ml
Drops Paracetamol 80 mg/ml
Antacid & Antiflatulent
Flatarneal‑DS Tablet Al Hydroxide 400mg.MgHydroxide
Suspension Al Oxide 200mg. MgHydroxide
Lactarneal Tablet A] Hydroxide 250mg.MgHydroxide
Suspension Al Oxide 175mg. MgHydroxide
Anthehnintic Tablet Albendazole 400mg
Melphin Tablet Pyrantel Pamoate 125 mg
Suspension Pyrantel Pamoate 50 mg
Brand name Dosage Form Generic name & strength
Cosmotrin Crearn Tretinion 0.025%
Filmet Tablet Metronidazole 200 mg
Metronidazole 400 mg
Metronidazole 80 Orng
Suspension Metronidazole 200 mg/5m]
Monate Tablet Isosorbide, Mononitrate 20mg
Neocard Tablet Dilitiazern 30mg
Pacet Tablet Arniodarone HCL 100 mg
Arniodarone HCL 200 mg
Arixon Ig IM Injection Ceftriaxone, Ig
Arixon I g IV Injection Ceftriaxone, Ig
Arixon 250mg IM Injection Cefcriaxone 250 mg
Arixon 250mg IV Injection Ceftriaxone 250 mg
Arixon 500mg IM Injection Cefiriaxone 500 mg
Arixon 500mg IV Injection Ceftriaxone 500 mg
Arlin Tablet Linezolid 400mg
Brand name Dosage Form Generic name & strength
Suspension Linezolid 100mg/5ml
Cephalen Capsule Cephalexin 250mg
Clobex Capsule Cloxacillin 500 mg
Syrup Cloxacillin 125mg/ 5ml
Decacycline Capsule Tretracycline, 250mg
Etrocin Tablet Erythromycin 250mg
Suspension Erythromycin 125mg/5ml
Evo Tablet Levofloxacin 250mg
Flubex Capsule Flucloxacin 250mg
Suspension Flucloxacin 125mg/5nd
Intracef Capsule Cephradine 250mg
Suspension Cephradine 125mg/5m]
Drops Cephradine 125mg/1.25.1
Injection Cephradine 250mg
Injection Cephradine 500mg
Isofloxin Tablet Pefloxacin 400mg
Brand name Dosage Form Generic name & strength
Megadox Capsule Doxycycline 100mg
Megatrim DS Tablet Trimethoprim 160mg
Suspension Trimethoprim. 40mg
Neofloxin Tablet Ciprofloxacin 250 mg
Ciprofloxacin 500 mg
Ciprofloxacin 750 mg
Neofloxin XR Sustained Ciprofloxacin 500 mg
Odycin Tablet Moxifloxacin 400ing
Rolacin Tablet Clarithromycin 250mg
Suspension Clarithromycin 500mg
Sparlin Tablet Sparfloxacin 200mg
Triocim. Tablet Cefixime 200mg
Suspension Cefixime 100mg/5ml
Tycil Capsule Amoxycillin 250mg
Suspension Amoxycillin 125mg/5ml
Drops Amoxycillin 125mg/1.25m]
Tycil DS Suspension Amoxycillin 250mg/5m]
Xegal Tablet Gatifloxacin 400 mg
Prosfm Tablet Finasteride 5mg
Uroflo Tablet Tamsulosin 0.4mg
Brand name Dosage Form Generic name & strength
Tarnona Tablet Tarnoxifen 10mg
Impramid Inhaler 1pratropiurn Bromide
Neodrop Suspension Simethicon 67mg/mI
Apresin Tablet Fluphenazine, 0.5mg
Atralin Tablet Sertralin 50mg
Frenxit Tablet Flupentixol 0.5mg
Melev 20 Tablet Paroxentine 20mg
Modipran Capsule Fluxotine 20mg
Diactin Tablet Glipizide 5mg
Diaglit Tablet Pioglitazone 15mg
Diapro Tablet Gliclazide 80mg
Diaryl Tablet Gliclazide Img
Informet Tablet Mefformin HCL 500mg
Informet LA Sustained Metformin HCL 500mg
Brand name Dosage Form Generic name & strength
Premil Tablet Repaglinide 0.5mg
Inarzin Tablet Cinnarizine 15mg
Onsat 8 Tablet Ondansterone 8mg
Fungistin Oral Susp. Nystatin 100,00units/ml
Omastin Capsule Fluconazole 50mg
Neosten Crearn Clotrimazole 0. 1%
Neosten VT Vaginal Tablet Clotrimazole 0.2gm
Terbex Tablet Terbinafine 250mg
Crearn Terbinafine 1%
Epilep Tablet Carbarnazepine 200mg
Epilep CR Controlled Carbamazepine 200mg
Atrizin Tablet Cetirizine HCL 10mg
Syrup Cetirizine HCL 5mg/5ml
Axodin Tablet Fexofenadine 120mg
PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY SCENARIO IN
Background of the Pharmaceutical Industry:
The pharmaceuticals sector is a high-technology and knowledge-intensive industry in Bangladesh. The industry has two-tier structure. The largest firm accounts for the majority of the R&D investment in the industry and holds the majority of patents. There are a large number of smaller firms producing mostly for the local market. The pharmaceuticals industry is heavily regulated.
Once a product is brought to market, pharmaceuticals companies spend heavily on marketing and promotion. The larger drug companies maintain a large sales force, which makes direct regular contacts with individual prescribing physicians and other pharmaceuticals decision makers. The money spent on marketing is huge. Pharmaceuticals marketing efforts are not only directed at physicians and consumers; drug companies have also sought to directly influence pharmacist, in some cases paying pharmacists to induce customers to change their drug consumption habits.
The nature of competition in this industry differs between the two sets of firms. The second tier of firms holds fewer patents and relies primarily on manufacturing
off patent generic medicines or patent medicines under license. Competition between these firms takes the conventional form of competition on price, cost efficiency and quality. In contrast, a few large research-based pharmaceutical companies invest heavily in R&D and hold the bulk of the patents, and can often enjoy substantial market power while these patents are in force. For these companies, competition is not primarily on the basis of price, but rather on the basis of marketing and innovation. These companies compete to develop entirely new drugs which treat new medical conditions, improve existing drugs, or serve as substitute for existing patented drugs. Some large pharmaceutical companies in this tier export and compete in international markets.
The scenario of pharmaceutical industry can be depicted in two parts-before the Drug policy ordinance, 1982 and after the Drug policy ordinance, 1982. Before the ordinance there were 177 pharmaceutical companies in the country but local production used to be dominated by multinational drug companies which manufactured 75% of total production. 25 medium sized national companies manufactured about 15% of total production. 133 small local based companies produced the remaining 10%. The multinational companies were fully armed with modern technology for producing sophisticated essential drugs, but they were also engaged to a large extent, in the formulation of simple drugs including many useless products. At that time, the unregulated drug market of the country had very little favorable conditions for pharmaceuticals to over price their products. Near monopoly market conditions meant that local firms could not compete effectively with these multinational market tycoons.
A great change was noticeable in the pharmaceutical industry after the drug policy ordinance of 1982. The total national production of pharmaceuticals has risen by a substantial 63%; the value of essential drugs made in national factories has gone up to 140% over the four years. At present there are over 350 national & multinational based pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh.
Top Ten Pharmaceutical Companies in Bangladesh:
|Name of the Company||Market Share|
Prescription based market share of National & Multi- national Pharmaceutical Companies:
Overall Prescription Percentage
|Serial No||Company||Number of Product||Percentage|
Profiles of the Leading Companies:
Square Pharmaceuticals Limited:
Year of Establishment
q Formulation products (241 dosage forms of 130 brands covering 35 therapeutic categories)
q Veterinary Products (Veterinary and Nutrition products).
q Active pharmaceuticals ingredients (API) (compacted and micronized)
Market share and facilities
q SQUARE posted a business turnover over US$ 62 million, (Taka 359 crore) in the fiscal year July 01 to June’ 02
Source: Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Index, 2nd Quarter 2002.
q Overall share of 15.27% of the total pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh
Source: Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Index, 2nd Quarter 2002
q Above average growth rate in the pharmaceutical industry
q Leader of in the Pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh among all national and multinational companies from 1985 onwards.
q Formulation Plant (I)
q Formulation Plant (II)
q Bulk Chemical Plant (III)
q A well-structured and indomitable pharmaceutical marketing network in Bangladesh.
q The Marketing Division has in excess of 1000 personnel.
q More than 500 Medical Representatives.
q Product Management Department is run by more than 25 brand Executives from different disciplines (MBA’s, Medical Doctors, and Graduate Pharmacists).
q Medical Services Department has a collection of graduate doctors for interacting with target medical professionals.
q Market Research Department is well developed and is run by MR professionals.
q A robust distribution network spread throughout the country
q A Central Depot
q Eleven distribution centers
q Targeting retailers, wholesalers, institutions and Organizations
q Efficient computerized network system connects each distribution center with headquarters and factories to ensure smooth functioning and supply
Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is a leading pharmaceutical company in Bangladesh established in the year 1999. The company has a very big manufacturing facility located at Savar, 35 kilometer away from the center of the capital city Dhaka. The company produces various types of dosage forms which include tablets, capsules, oral liquids, ampoules, dry powder vials, powder for suspension, nasal sprays etc. Since its inception, Incepta has been launching new and innovative products in order to fulfill unmet demand of the medical community. The focus was to bring more new technologically advanced molecules to this country.
The company specializes in value added high technology dosage form like sustained release tablets, quick mouth dissolving tablets, barrier coated delayed release tablets etc. It has established a modern research and development laboratory for the development of new advanced dosage forms for various drugs and devices like poorly soluble drugs, dry powder inhalers, coated pellets, modified release products, taste masked preparation etc.
Incepta quickly developed a very competent sales team, which promotes the specialties throughout the country. The company virtually covers every single corner of the rural as well as urban area of Bangladesh. It has its own large distribution network having 13 depots all over the country. The company has a clear vision to become a leading research based dosage form manufacturing company with global presence within a short period of time.
The Research and Development department for various dosage forms has been very well developed. Incepta intends to bring newer products of advanced technology through research hitherto unknown in this country. Such activities will not only benefit the company but also the total pharmaceutical sector of the country. In the post 2005 era, the company also intends to embark into the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). Plans are underway to get into reverse engineering and analogue research in order to produce new API.
Manufacturing and packaging operations are carried out according to the validated methods through systematically qualified machines with full documentation at all stages of operations.
The production sites follow the GMP guidelines for environmental requirements of the manufacturing and packaging area, as well as comply with the EHS requirements.
Highly sophisticated HVAC systems are used to condition, monitor and supply clean air to the working zone according to the manufacturing zone concept, capture and control any dust, vapour, gas or fume generated, as well as treatment of recirculated and/or exhausted air. Temperature and moisture level are maintained at the desired level through this system.
Design of the room and air-conditioning systems ensure:
- Prevention of contamination of the product
- Protection of the environment
- Protection of the people
- Prevention of the ingress of vermin, insects and birds.
The company is now expanding its activities beyond the geographical boundary of Bangladesh. The products are of high standard and therefore these will be exported to both developed and developing countries. The company is open to collaborate with interested parties in various countries. The future is wide open and the opportunities are bountiful. Incepta will continue to strive to provide high quality medicine at affordable prices to the people here in Bangladesh and other parts of the globe.
ACI Pharmaceuticals Limited:
In 1973, the UK based multinational pharmaceutical company, ICI p1c, established a subsidiary in Dhaka, known as ICI Bangladesh Manufacturers Limited. In 1992, ICI plc divested its share to local management, and the company was renamed Advanced Chemical Industries (ACI) Limited.
ACI formulates and markets a comprehensive range of more than 120 products covering all major therapeutic areas, which come in tablet, capsule, powder, liquid, cream, ointment, gel and injection forms. ACI also imports products from world-class multinational companies like ASTRAZENECA, UK; ELI LILLY, USA and UCB, BELGIUM and markets world-renowned brands like Diprivan, Fluothane, Nolvadex, Accolate, Meronem, Atarax, Humulin, Ceclor etc. in Bangladesh.
ACI is actively engaged in introducing newer molecules and new drug delivery systems to meet the needs of the future.
ACI introduced the concept of quality management system by being the first company in Bangladesh to achieve ISO 9001 certification in 1995 and follows the policy of continuous improvement in all its operations.
ACI maintains a congenial and supportive relationship with the healthcare community of Bangladesh, with the belief that business excellence can only be achieved through pursuit of quality by understanding, accepting, meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
The management of ACI, a competent team of professionals, thus operates with a progressive attitude to provide effective solutions to satisfy the customers’ needs, through its products and services of uncompromising quality.
Location and area
The pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is located at Narayangarj, by the bank of river Shitolokkhya. It encompasses a land area of 11. 5 acres.
The plant is well designed and well equipped with all latest facilities and state-of-theart technologies. The responsible team of plant workers, supervisors, officers and managers strictly follow cGMP recommended by WHO and In-process Quality control methodology for production and meets all national regulatory requirements.
Medical information update
ACI will shortly introduce a flash mail service and its website updates for the members of medical profession with latest information for their professional practices.
Marketing & Sales
Under the leadership of the business head, Chief Operating Officer Mr. M Mohibuz Zaman, this highly skilled and motivated team of professionals is dedicated in formulating effective strategies to meet the challenges in the ever-changing market, developing new products tailored to satisfy the customers current needs, exploring new opportunities in both home and abroad, and working for consistent growth and increased market share for ACI.
This creative team of professionals is engaged in developing new formulations and dosage forms with competitive advantages and strong product differentiation.
This highly skilled team is dedicated in producing products with consistent quality under clearly defined Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in compliance with the procedures and instructions of ISO 9001 quality system.
This dedicated team plays the vigilant role of controlling, ensuring and maintaining the consistent quality of products for which ACI is so well recognized.
Being a developing country, the pharmaceutical market and at the same time, the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh is growing. In this growing market, ACI has been able maintain its growth above the market growth through its innovative marketing strategies as well as products and services of uncompromising quality.
In Bangladesh, ACI introduced the concept of quality management system by being the first company in Bangladesh to achieve ISO 9001 certification that reflects its commitment to quality in every aspect of business.
ACI covers the health care community of whole Bangladesh based in both urban and rural markets through its 18 strategically located depots.
To fuel the continuous growth of ACI, the company has started exploring international markets. The quality of ACI products, strengthened by its ISO 9001 certification, has brought immediate success in Sri Lanka, Yemen and Myanmar.
ACI frequently arranges seminars and symposia covering a wide range of medical topics attended by members of health care community. The faculty of these programs usually consists of both reputed medical experts and experts from marketing team of ACI and its international principals.
Continuing medical education of physicians and surgeons
ACI regularly arranges CME programs of both physicians and surgeons all over the country. These programs cover medical problems frequently faced by the practitioners, update their knowledge, and make them aware of the new therapies and medical technologies.
Responding to doctors’ queries
It is the most regularly performed task of the marketing team of ACI. The company has developed a postage paid business reply card attached to every literature in which the doctors usually send their queries. ACI tries to provide a comprehensive answer to the queries of the physicians covering all the details.
Medical illustration and audiovisual aids
ACI is ready to assist in preparing presentation packages including computer slides, transparencies and printed text whenever medical experts wish to share their experiences and results of their research with the health care community.
ACI provides the doctors with reprints of selected publications on topics that can assist the doctors in their professional practices
Aventis Pharmaceuticals Limited
As a global industry leader Aventis seeks to conquer and prevent disease by bringing to market innovative pharmaceuticals, vaccines, therapeutic proteins and diagnostics. Aventis pharma was created as a part of the 1999 business combination of Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc to form Aventis SA, one of the world’s leading life sciences companies. Aventis Pharma concentrates its efforts on strategic brands that meet growing patient needs and contribute to a long-term sales growth. With 2001 sales of 15.168 billion euro (excluding sales of diagnostics), Aventis Pharma contributes three-quarters of the life sciences sales of Aventis SA. The Aventis Pharma prescription drug business is investing about 2.98 billion euro a year in Drug Innovation and Approval,one of the industry’s largest R&D budgets.
q Respect for people
q Sense of urgency
Therapeutic developments and clinical trials have brought innovation and resulted in medicines that can benefit patients in many key therapeutic areas. Through its investments Aventis pharma is well positioned to meet the growing needs of patients in Bangladesh.
ACME Laboratories Ltd.
The history of The ACME Laboratories Ltd. dates back to 1954 when a proprietorship firm was founded to manufacture ethical drugs. It started with the modest introduction of a few oral liquid products. The late Hamidur Rahman Sinha was the founder of the firm and was the main visionary of the organization until his sad demise in 1994.
The firm was converted into a private Limited company in the year 1976. Commercial operation at the modernized plant equipped with sophisticated and advanced facilities began towards the end of 1983. Many challenges were overcome successfully to transform the company from a small unit to what it is today.
ACME continuously seeks to expand its production facilities, add employees and increase its sales and marketing efforts. According to the latest statistics, out of about 300 pharmaceutical companies in the country, The ACME Labs is one of the top four. ACME has also endeavored to strengthen its network in international marketing operations to export its products abroad. Acme is optimistic about its continued growth and success. Over the years their high achievement drive, hard work and competent staff as well as confidence in producing quality products have contributed to their growth.
The basic philosophy of ACME is to ensure Health, Vigor and Happiness for mankind by producing ethical drugs and medicines of the highest quality at affordable prices, and reaching out even to the most remote areas by proper and prompt distribution. They view themselves as partners with doctors, our customers, our employees and our environment.
ACME’s modernized plant is located at Dhamrai, about 40 kin N.W. of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. While designing and constructing the plant, proper attention was paid to the latest concepts of cross contamination, high efficacy of air
circulation handling, particle free finishes, equipment layout, process flow, hygiene and safety, Special care has also been given in selecting machinery and laboratory instruments. The plant has the most sophisticated imported machinery and equipment. ACME’s plant is a testimony to its basic commitment for manufacturing the highest standard of ethical drugs.
Acme’s stated belief that, “No compromise on quality can be made in a business that involves human lives,” is the cornerstone of the company’s Quality Assurance program.
The Company has adopted ISO-9001 and WHO CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Process) Standards and has been accredited with ISO-9001 certification in 1999. The entire manufacturing procedure, starting with the incoming raw materials, through stringent intermediate manufacturing process and packaging of products, to the dispatching of finished goods, requires that analysts, pharmacists and instructors monitor and control each step. Even after the release of finished goods, the quality control lab tracks post-distribution spot checks of all batches.
Acme’s Quality Assurance Department is equipped with the most modem instruments and is staffed with well trained and qualified personnel. All procedures for testing, sampling and inspecting are clearly approved, implemented and documented. All instruments are regularly calibrated and processes, machinery and premises validated. Through training programs (in-house and abroad), the key personnel of the company remain abreast of the latest concepts of Quality Assurance.
Research and Development
For a pharmaceutical company, Research and Development (R&D) is the indispensable c+omponent needed to ensure steady growth and improvement. Since the day it was founded, Acme has stepped up to the challenge to develop new and effective drugs to compete with other manufacturers. Acme’s R&D team comprises keen and dedicated individuals from a wide range of disciplines. The team is currently guided by the Deputy Managing Director Dr. Jabilur Rahman Sinha Ph.D. who obtained his Doctorate in Organic Medicinal Chemistry from Georgia University in the United States. The Research and Development department is currently active in evolving formulations for herbal medicines in collaboration with its United States counterparts
Areas of Comparison
Range of Products:
Range of products here represents different types of items of products. The pharmaceutical companies divide their medicines into three categories- infusions, formulations and pharmaceuticals. The total number of products BEXIMCO has is 180, whereas Square has about 300 types of products within their medicine range. Therefore, Square is occupying the leading position in producing the widest range of products. Incepta, is currently marketing about 137 products. Aventis holds the fourth position. ACI formulates and markets a comprehensive range of more than 120 products covering all major therapeutic areas, which come in tablet, capsule, powder, liquid, cream, ointment, gel and injection forms. Acme and Opsonin have the lowest range of products compared to the above-mentioned companies.
The survey results, as depicted in the above figure, more or less reflect the reality. However, it fails to show the huge gap in the product range between BEXIMCO and Square. According to the doctors, the difference between the product range of the two companies is narrower. The other bar in the figure above mostly represent Incepta which has the third largest product range. The smallest bars in the figure perfectly depicts the lowest range of products of Opsonin and ACME.
The quality of any product includes everything associated with it, ranging from the raw materials to the effectiveness when consumed. Doctors usually emphasizes on less side effects, less frequency of administration and quick and effective therapeutic response when referring to product quality. However, it has been found that doctors give much more emphasis on quick therapeutic response rather than effective therapeutic response. This is because sometimes effective therapeutic dosage may cause delay in recovery and patients switch to other doctors. Therefore, doctors have to prescribe drugs which would lead to quick recovery. According to the opinion of the physicians, Square has the leading position (Figure 04).
BEXIMCO holds the second position. Aventis and ACI also have good positions in terms of quality perception. This due to the fact that some their products are imported from abroad. Moreover the imported medicines have very few alternatives in the local market. Acme and Opinion medicines are not rated high in terms of quality.
It may be said that 22% respondents believe that BEXIMCO ’s products provide quick recovery.
The product presentation of any product includes everything associated with it, ranging from the color to the design. It has been found that the companies can even charge a high price if their product presentation is good even if it is of the same quality as the others.
According to the physician’s opinion (Figure 05), Square has the leading position in terms of product presentation. Aventis and ACI also have good positions in terms of product presentation. This is due to the fact that some their products are imported from abroad. Moreover the imported medicines have very few alternatives in the local market. BEXIMCO ’s competitive position is not quite good in terms of product presentation. Acme and Opinion medicines are not rated high.
Introduction of New Products
New generation drugs always attract doctors. Sometimes even if a drug with the same therapeutic value is there in the market, a new drug launched takes a huge percentage of the market share of the older one. As for example, NeoceptineR was a market leader once. When Neotack entered the market, the market share of NeoceptineR fell dramatically due to doctors liking new generation drugs.
In fact, because of this, the pharmaceutical companies frequently arrange seminars and symposia covering a wide range of medical topics attended by members of health care community. The faculty of these programs usually consist of both reputed medical experts and experts from marketing team of the company.
According to the physician’s opinion (Table 01 ), Square has the leading position in the frequency of introducing new drugs.
|Company||% of Response|
Table 01: Introduction of new products
BEXIMCO holds the second position. Aventis and ACI also have good positions. Incepta is increasingly moving towards introducing new products. According to the doctor’s opinion, ACME and Opinion are least proactive in introducing new drugs.
In the pharmaceuticals market of Bangladesh, there is not much price differentiation, in general, among the different companies due to the highly competitive nature of the industry. Whatever price differentiation is there, it is between the multinationals and the national companies. It is due to the fact that the multinationals charge a premium price for their product.
Moreover, price is not a very important factor due to the nature of the product. Quality is more important. However, the purchasing capacity of the patients is also an important consideration. Therefore, it is important for the companies to charge a reasonable price for their product.
According the survey, most of the doctors perceive BEXIMCO as offering reasonable pricing for their product (Figure 06). It may be due to the fact that BEXIMCO has recently come up with a very competitive price for some of its key products. Square hold the second position. Whereas, the others are not perceived to be providing reasonable prices given the quality of their products.
In the pharmaceuticals market, distribution is very important. Having made all decisions of marketing properly, a company will not be successful if it cannot distribute its products well.
According to the physicians, Square has the strongest distribution among all the companies (Figure 07). With its eleven distribution centers, it maintains a proper distribution of drugs in the chemist shops all through the country. BEXIMCO holds the second position. Aventis maintains a moderate network.
While companies like Opsonin, ACME and ACI are not perceived to have a good distribution. It may be due to the fact that these companies targets different pockets of the whole market.
Market Research Department & Statistical Cell (MRC)
For today’s business organization which is involved in the marketing of products or services or both, it is a necessity that they conduct market research in order to be aware of the way things are taking place around them. Marketing intelligence is the flow of information from outside the organization into the organization. Marketing in intelligence provides the business firm with the information about the macro environment of the business which in turn makes decision making by the top management easier and more close to the actual scenario.
Market research is a systematic and objective identification, collection analysis, dissemination and use of information for the purpose of assisting management in decision making related to identification and solution of the problems.
MRC department was established in 1987 with one senior product officer and five market reach representative (MRR) under the CPM department. MRC dept. divided the whole country into 440 territories under 20 regions. Headed by the manager it is the market research representatives who do the task of market survey. The department discloses the trend of increasing or decreasing market share by compiling the received data from the marketplace.
Objective of the MRC Department:
“To provide accurate information that reflects accurate scenario about the pharmaceutical market and industry”
Motto of the MRC Department:
“Find anything, Tell it like it is”
Manpower of the MRC Department:
|Designation||Number of Employees|
|Sr. MR Officer ~||1|
|Asst. MR Officer||2|
|MR Supervisor (Office)||2|
Organogram of the MRC Department:
Activities of the MRC Department:
There are some specific activities that are carried out by the MRC department on a regular basis. They are as follows:
1. Prepare statement of Prescription, Slip, OTC and also Product manual movement report of BPL.
2. Prepare required product wise report of 20 BPL regions.
3. Prepare comparison of BPL with its competitors in the pharmaceutical sector with a special emphasis on the successes of square pharmaceutical company.
4. Prepare national product wise report of BPL.
5. Prepare monthly report.
6. Prepare monthly survey report in brief.
7. Prepare brand loyal doctors survey report for BPL.
8. Special survey report on some potential doctors given time to time by CPM
9. Company wise survey report every month.
10. Prepare the report of yearly average percentage comparison of different company.
11. Monthly territory wise percentage of BPL.
12. Prepare combined percentage (BPL & Formulation) every month.
13. MRC Dept. goes for official visit or unofficial visit to checkout MRR persons doing their works properly or not.
14. Prepare the monthly tour plan & short tour plan
15. Collect the data from the field through MRR
16. MRC dept sends the monthly reports to Marketing dept. & Sales dept. with copy to the top management. It will help the management and sales team to see the total scenario of the market in different angles.
Additional activities of the MRC Department:
Beside these activities which are directly related to the task of market research, there are some other activities that the department of MRC carries out which is nevertheless of much importance to the company and the department as well.
Recruitment of MRR:
MRC Dept. recruits MRR (as well as officers) whenever required for the MRC Dept. in co operation with the HR Dept. After giving the job vacancy advertisement, HR dept. receives the CV of applicants. And after that HR dept. sought the CVs according to their qualifications and then takes interview along with MRC dept. Then HR dept. sends those selected applicants to MRC dept. And after that MRC dept trained them.
The MRC dept. arranges month long training program to make a smart prescription surveyor for the selected candidates, this training is headed by the MR Senior Officer. Within the training program and after completion of training programs MRC dept. takes some tests. If the trainee passes the test then he will finally be recruited. Otherwise he will lose his potential job. It must be noted here that the task of a market research representative is by no means easy and it is indeed a challenging one. Without proper training it is quite impossible to have an effective and efficient market research representative force that would be an asset to the company and surely give it an edge over the competitors.
Serving Information As Per Need:
MRC Dept. also provide some useful and important information to the Marketing dept. & Sales dept., like- name of the doctors who are prescribing BPL products, competitive brands and those doctors who were previously prescribing BPL product but has recently shifted to competitor’s brand. But this type of analysis is done only on request Sales and Marketing dept.
Every month some special assigned reports is being submitted to Marketing dept. & Sales dept. with copy to the top management along with the critical analysis and interpretation of data which was received from the field that will help the management, sales team and other departments who need it to understand the total picture and situation of the medicine market at different shapes.
MRC Dept. sits for a short meeting headed by Manager, MRC at the end of the month where important issues and total activities of the previous month are discussed along with the further improvement.
Responsibilities of the Personnel of The MRC Department:
- Responsible for the whole activities of MRC Dept.
- Give the instruction about further improvement of market research methods
- Implement the MR strategy smoothly and properly
- Recruit the MRR in consultation with HRD
- Organize the monthly meeting at the end of the month
- Attend the monthly & quarterly meeting with the top management and assist to analyze and interpret the data from the reports submitted by the MRC Dept.
- Ensure a smooth work environment for the In-house employees
- Measure yearly performance of the employees
- Check out any sort of periodical report and sign wherever necessary.
- Maintain overall monitoring and control system
- Compiling and preparing the monthly report of BPL products.
- Timely preparation and arrangement of the annual performance of the MRRs.
- Examine and recommend monthly expense bill of MRR.
- Preparation of the monthly report.
- Arranging training of newly recruited MRR
- Sr. Officer will take the responsibilities of the Manager in his absence.
- Compiling and preparing the monthly report of different region of BPL.
- Also assign field work to MRR for every region.
- Prepare tour program in consultation with other officers.
- Prepare New or Revised Product Manual once in a year.
- Prepare of product movement of BPL Products for all the regions.
- Give input of company wise data to the computer.
- Prepare single page data and monthly MRC data.
- Carry out any sudden assignment given whenever need arises.
- In the absence of any officer (in house employee) other officers will perform their tasks.
- Beside these all officers must do some other extra work when needed and required.
Market Research Representatives (MRRs):
- Visiting the chemist shops, hospitals and clinics according to the tour plan to checkout the prescriptions, slips, and Over The Counter (OTC) drugs.
- Filling up the product manuals where the doctors’ name, territory code, starting time of visit, name of the MRR, name of the chemist shop and the name of the prescribed medicine are written down.
- Prepare the summary based on the day long collected data.
- Send those summaries to the MRC Dept. by mail regularly.
For the efficiency of the MRRs, Product knowledge is a must. They visit the specified 829 territories all around the year and need 2-3 days to visit a particular territory.
Tour plan is a systematic procedure of when the MRR is to collect information prescriptions from different chemist shops, hospitals and clinics etc. Specified places are included in the tour calendar with a clear mention of the name of the MRRs responsible for each of the specified regions. Currently there are 30 MRRs in this department working in the field area.
MRC department develops a Tour plan based on the 20 regions of BPL. Under each region there are some districts. For example, Dhaka-I region covers Munshigonj, Manikgonj, Gazipur etc. MRC depatment also develops a Short tour plan for those regions where number of territories is huge. One MRR can not cover the whole region. In such cases MRC dept. arranges this short tour plan for every month.
Normally tour calendar is prepared by the Sr. Officer, Officer, Asst. Officer. They distribute different territories among 30 MRR by the serial of monthly basis tour calendar. The working period of a tour is usually decided to be around 20 days for every month.
Name of The Regions:
MRC Dept. divided the whole country into 20 regions to utilize their MRRs in a better way and to do the survey activities more smoothly, effectively and efficiently. There are 829 territories under the 20 regions. The name of 20 regions are given as below –
Name of the REGIONS
|Dhaka – 1||Tangail||Chittagong -1||Barisal|
|Dhaka – 2||Bogra||Chittagong -2||Faridpur|
|Dhaka – 3||Rajshahi||Cox’s Bazar||Kushtia|
Figure: List of 20 regions of MRC Dept.
Time Period of Survey:
Survey tour time is very carefully allocated by the MRC Dept. of BPL. Every regular survey tour time is 20 days long. The daily survey time of MRR is 8 hours. But it can vary depending on the situation. At least 2-3 days are needed to visit each territory. And in case of a short tour, time is 8-10 days long.
Tour Plan of MRC Dept:
|Route-1||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-2||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Namc of||Name of|
|Rarto-3||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-4||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|C t&4||MRR||MRR||MRR||M KR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR|
|Route-5||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Rout”||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Nam of|
|Route-7||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Nameof||Name of||Nameof||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Sylhet-3 -3||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR|
|Route-9||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-10||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Nameof||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-11||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Comilla-4||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MKR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR|
|Route-13||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|M S -I||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR||MRR|
|Route-14 14||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name o(||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Nameof||Name of||Name of|
|Ronte-l5||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route16||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-l7||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-l8||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-19||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-20||Name of||Name of||Name of||Mauve of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-21||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-22||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name, of||Name of||Name of||Mum of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-23||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-24||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-25||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Nameof||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|ofMRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR||of MRR|
|Route-27||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-28||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of||Name of|
|Route-29||Name of||Name of||_|
Table-13: Tour Plan for Me MRR Source: Market Research Department (MRC), BPI
The Way of Conducting Market Research:
After recruiting the MRRs, BPL goes for well equipped training programs for a month long time. In that time the trainer trained them in a proper way to conduct a sound survey.
After that they directly go to the assigned territories as per tour plan calendar. In prescription survey the MRRs should be agile and prompt. They go to the different chemist shops, hospitals, clinics, doctor’s chambers, and health complexes to cover their assigned survey.
Market research Method:
MRC Dept. follows the Observation method for their prescription survey. There are two simple things basically MRR do in their survey period.
- Standing beside the chemist shops and looking for prescriptions coming and write down the products name in survey sheet.
- Sometimes (if necessary) MRRs cordially ask for prescriptions to the patients or their guardians to know the products prescribed.
Data that are collected:
In their survey, the MRRs quickly look at the different prescriptions and its required elements such as:
- The Doctor’s name
- Products name
- Name of the manufacturing companies
- Name of the clinic or pharmaceuticalcy, Etc.
Major Features of the Data Collection Process:
- The MRRs write down the information needed without disturbing anyone. That means they gather surveyed information without disturbing any patients or guardians of patients and pharmacy shop employees. This is a point that BPL emphasize on very much and strictly follows this rule.
- To prevent biased information all Market Research Representatives (MRRs) of BPL does not disclose their identification to anyone even not to the Medical Representatives (MRs) of all pharmaceutical companies including BPL.
- For conducting prescription survey BPL also provides some gift items (like- pen, pad) to chemist shop for participating spontaneously in the survey.
- One of the important aspects of the survey process showing honor to the survey participants either it could be a chemist shop or patient.
- The MRRs of BPL are often allowed to survey other chemist shop which was not enlisted in tour calendar for gathering more and variety information as any one wish.
- If any MRR becomes sick on a tour which is natural given the tiring procedure that they have to go through, a replacement is instantly sent who performs the remaining research work.
- The MRRs of BPL always prompt to collect data. They never allow prescriptions that are 2 to 3 months old to be considered in the research process.
This is the entire procedure for the research process of the MRRs. The MRRs visit the pharmaceuticalcies to survey the prescriptions, slips and OTC drug. They fill up survey forms which include the surveyor’s name, spot’s name, doctor’s name, territory code, visiting time and date, name of the prescribed medicines and other necessary data. From these data the surveyors make summaries of the collected data. Only the name and type of the product along with the name of the manufacturing company is mentioned in the summary.
Flow Chart of the Survey:
Format of Survey Sheet:
|BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd.|
Market Research & Statistical Cell(MRC)
Name of the MRR:…………………………………………………………….
Name of the Chemist Shop…………………………………………………………………..
Address:……………………… ……………….. . .. . . . .. . . Date::.: ………….. . ……………………..
Starting Time: ………… ………………. Ending Time……………………….
Doctor’s Name Products Name
Figure: Format of Prescription Survey Sheet
Source: Market Research Department (MRC), BPL
Analysis of Survey by the Company:
MRRs of BPL gather information from the different territories by prescription survey and send the information to MRC dept. The MR Officer receives different summary reports and prepare product wise Tally sheet. After that this information is put into computer by Area Sales Executive’s (ASE’s) sheet wise and its result goes to Regional Sales Executive’s (RSE’s) sheet. All RSEs sheets result accumulated in a unique picture that is called national result. National result is the real picture of entire situation of prescription survey. And it will compare to the other companies national result. By this way MRC Dept. prepare the Monthly Report.
Top level management will make further company decision depending on this monthly report. Monthly report is printed in different forms. Usually 4 or 5 types of monthly report MRC dept. prepare. Such as:
- National product wise report,
- Required product wise report,
- Comparison report,
- Brand loyal doctor’s survey report etc.
MRC Dept. also conducts Half-Yearly and Yearly report beside this monthly report. These are all summarization form of monthly report.
Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry is a very competitive market along with near about more than 300 pharmaceutical companies. Most of the company straggles for not having better marketing decisions. In absence of sound information, any decision may result in huge damage for the company. So, market research can make a big difference among the companies. And a well structured survey process can provide relevant, current, valid information to management to make appropriate decision whenever required.
Even the rose has a thorn. So there is every reason for the market research activities to have drawbacks. These pitfalls are some areas where the company should always be aware of. Otherwise they may end up making important strategic decisions based on the wrong information.
When the collected data are analyzed there are some problems that arise in front of the researcher. This is because sometimes collected data does not give the real scenario of the pharmaceutical market. There are some reasons behind it which are given below:
- Sometimes Medical Promotion Executives (MPEs) of BPL tries to influence the doctors to prescribe BPL‘s product as much as possible when MRRs conduct their survey. This means that the survey serves as a catalyst to the sale of the company’s products but at the end of the day it fails to portray the real picture. For that day BPL‘s prescription output is high but this is not the actual scenario of the pharmaceutical market.
- In prescription survey, sometimes when doctors prescribe only 2 or 3 companies’ products in his prescription BPL may not present. This may happen due to the specific case of the patient and it may be that in that particular case BPL actually doesn’t have a product to offer. So it is not a competitor in that particular segment. This situation is also not showing the real picture of the pharmaceutical market. Making decisions based on such data would not be the best of responses.
- Sometimes MPEs of BPL sends the false prescription with BPL‘s products to the chemist shop with intention to increase his performance. For that reason the real circumstance falls behind the screen. This is not the actual condition shown in the data.
- Sometimes in the chemist shop the prescription movement could be low and after the survey period only 5 to 7 prescriptions could be collected with only a handful of BPL’s products prescribed by the doctors. This situation also not shows the real scenario of pharmaceutical market and may well be an exception. Exceptions are surely not a solid foundation for decision making.
Format of Tally Sheet
F. S. Base: Location: Month: Total Working Days:
Table: Tally Sheet of F. S. Base
Source: Market Research Department (MRC), BPL
Impact of Survey:
- Market survey shows the accurate picture of the present market condition of the pharmaceutical company.
- Market survey is the path to determine the present market demand of pharmaceutical products.
- It shows the real picture whether BPL‘s selected and specific doctors have written down its product continually or not.
- It helps to identify the necessity of promotional activities for the various products that the company is offering or is planning to offer to the market. This is usually aimed at the chemist shops or the doctors. It will also specify individual product promotion strategies for the old as well as new pharmaceutical products.
- Market survey enables the company to recognize competitors’ achievements as well as identify their areas of failure and their possible causes.
- Its summarized result may be of much help to the different field forces by providing relevant information about pharmaceutical products, doctors or chemist shops.
- This surveyed result will assist to provide sufficient market information to Marketing Dept. by giving different types of reports and by keeping them up to date with the latest changes as they take place in the actual marketplace.
- It will help to determine pharmaceutical market share along with different branded products’ market share. This ensures the benchmarking of the company in terms of advancements made by the competitors in gaining market share.
- Survey result is used to determine the overall MPEs, ASEs and RSEs performance for a certain period.
- It helps to identify which product is more popular in which region. According to this information company will take further promotional activities the problem areas and cash in on the areas where it can really gain a stronghold by undertaking position defense strategy.
- It enables the company to gather much needed information on the product demand level of the existing products as well as forecasting the future for the new products once they are launched by the company.
Market Research as a Competitive Advantage:
The pharmaceutical sector of our country is a very competitive one. There are almost 300 licensed companies operating in the market. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing markets of the country. In the year 2006, the size of the pharmaceutical sector is expected to be Tk. 4000 crore with an annual growth rate of 12%.
At present, Bangladesh produces about 97% of its domestic needs and has turned to be a medicine exporting country within a short span of time. Now more than 95% of the local demand of medical products is met by the local production. Bangladesh is placed in such a unique position that it can bring revolution in its pharmaceutical sector if the country could capitalize on the available opportunities optimally. Both Research and Marketing dept. can make a huge impression for the improvement of a pharmaceutical company in this aspect. By providing valid and most important market data to the Marketing dept., Market Research dept. assists in taking crucial steps to grab those best opportunities as much as possible.
In order to consolidate its position in the market BEXIMCO undertakes market research activities to better serve the market and to address the needs of the influencers in a better way than the competitors do. A look at the market research activities performed by the leading pharmaceutical companies would provide us with an insight into which company has the advantage when it comes to the area of market research.
BEXIMCO ’s Challenges:
Nowadays competition is very intense among the top listed pharmaceutical companies. As the market challenger BPL always tries to assess its competitor’s, especially the market leader’s movement. BPL believes that “If you want to defeat your opponent then you must know what your opponent is doing”. That means one must know the real information of his competitor. Like, the strengths, weaknesses, and if possible what the opponent is thinking to do next. In the pharmaceutical market Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Incepta pharmaceuticals Ltd., Acme Laboratories Ltd., Opsonin Chemical Industries Ltd. etc. are the major competitors of BPL. In this competitive market, any company makes a difference against its competitor by gathering the market related valid data and utilizing them. So, Market Research dept. plays a vital role for the enhancement of the overall profitability and the market share of the company.
MRC Department At BEXIMCO : At A Glance:
- Well trained MRRs
- Well structured management
- Well structured & systematic survey method
- Realistic & up to date marketing information provider
- Doesn’t use any type of data analyzing software
- Little bit biased result
- Not adequate number of MRRs
- Can use some data analyzing software
- Not up to date with research technology.
Square Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.
Square, Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SPL) is the market leader of the pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh with 14.5 % of market share. Square has been successful over the last few years to hold on to its leadership position against its competitors. It has been constantly been in the market leader position among all national and multinational companies since 1985.
Initially Square had its own market research dept. But after some years the department was closed due to some problems. Interestingly it did maintain its market leadership position and actually it very effectively consolidated its position without even having a separate market research department, something its competitors with separate market research departments couldn’t do. Recently Square again started its research dept. In the closing period Square assigned its research activities to the market research firm.
Square conduct its survey activities all over the country. Square divided the country into 22 regions. And under the research dept. there are almost 100 market surveyors to do their job for Square. Square collects almost every type of information regarding the pharmaceutical market. And research dept. tries to find out the condition of pharmaceutical market, market share, position and market growth rate of different companies, competitors’ activities, detail of new product, eliminated product and most revenue earning product. And also finds out the position of brand loyal doctors.
The research dept. develops a tour plan for every month. According to this tour plan Square conducts its market survey for whole month all over the country. Square use observational method for collecting the prescription data. And their targeted place of survey is chemist shops, clinics, hospitals, doctor’s chambers etc. Every tour period time is 18-20 days long. Square’s research dept. makes a huge impact on marketing decisions. With the report of research dept. Square makes a safest position against its competitors.
Market Research at Square Pharmaceutical Ltd.:
- Well structured management
- Provides proper market information
- Adequate number of market surveyors
- Prepares the report by using considerable amount of data
- Uses data analyzing software effectively
- Survey report is a little bit biased
- Market surveyors are many but only a few are enough experienced
- Hire qualified & experienced market surveyors
- Can not avoid to collect the biased data
ACME Laboratories Ltd.:
The ACME Laboratories Ltd. is one of the top 5 listed companies in Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry. Acme holds the third position based on market share with 8.00% and is a hard competitor for top listed companies. Acme has its own market research dept. during the year of 1995. After starting the research dept. Acme smoothly run its survey activities all over the country. Acme divided the whole country into 17 regions. And Acme has 80 employees in the Marketing Information Service Department (MISD). Acme conducts the survey on two things; one is basic chemical that means raw materials (like Paracetamol), and other one is finished product that means medicine in prescription. Acme assigns a research firm for conducting the basic chemical survey. Acme basically tries to find out the condition of pharmaceutical market, market share, position and market growth rate of different companies, competitors’ activities, detail of new product, eliminated product and most revenue earning product. And also finds out the position of brand loyal doctors.
Acme research department makes a tour plan for every month and survey tour period time is 1520 days long. Acme does not cover all the country at a time for survey. Acme uses observational methods for prescription survey. Survey team collects the data from the chemist shops, clinics, hospitals, doctor’s chambers etc. Beside this, Acme collects the pharmaceutical market information from International Medical Statistics (IMS). Based on the survey report Acme takes the marketing decisions whenever required. With this information Acme is trying to reduce the gap with the market challenger and leader.
Market Research at ACME Laboratories Ltd:
- Well experienced market researcher
- Provide valid & up to date marketing information on time
- Adequate no. of market surveyor
- Preparing the report by using huge data
- Uses data analyzing software
- Survey report is little bit biased
- Does not give the whole country’s survey result at a time
- Can conduct basic chemical survey by own dept.
- Can not avoid collecting the biased data
Opsonin Chemical Industries Ltd.:
Opsonin Chemical Industries Ltd. is one of the well established companies in the Bangladesh pharmaceutical market. Opsonin occupies 8`h position in this sector with 4.00% of market share. Opsonin does not have its own market research dept. Opsonin conducts its research activities through a research agency.
The appointed research agency makes the monthly reports on the current scenario of the pharmaceutical market and sends those reports to the top management of Opsonin. The research agency conducts its survey activities by its own surveyors. The agency collects prescription data and pharmaceutical market related data from the whole country. But the agency does not cover every potential rural areas of Bangladesh. Research agency collects huge number of data but in terms of valid information there is always a question and also a question on the monthly report of pharmaceutical market. Research agency conducts its survey to chemist shops, clinics, hospitals, doctor’s chambers etc.
Opsonin takes its every marketing step by observing pharmaceutical market condition, market share, market growth rate, competitors’ activities etc. With some strong and some weak points Opsonin rely on the research agency’s report and Opsonin is going well in its business arena by competing with its competitors based on the market research findings it is provided with.
Market Research at Opsonin Chemical Industries Ltd:
- Well experienced and professional market researchers
- Adequate number of market surveyors
- Preparing the report with the help of a considerable amount of data
- Uses data analyzing software
- Provides specific information as per requirement
- Survey report is little bit biased going in favor of the company
- Not every potential area is covered by the survey.
- Can set up a research department of its own
- Can take initiatives to cover all the potential areas in order to have a more convincing research output which would enable better decision making.
- It is a near to impossible task to avoid being provided with biased data.
Incepta Pharmaceutical Ltd.:
Incepta is now the pharmaceutical company within the industry that is making quick grounds and has achieved considerable success over the last few years. It is indeed the company with a purpose and is already forcing the larger competitors to rethink their strategies. It occupies the 3rd position in terms of the value share (According to IMS 2nd quarter, 2006). On the other hand it occupies an even more impressive 2nd position in terms of the Prescription share (According to 4Ps Prescription analysis).
Incepta pharmaceutical Ltd. has no research department of its own. It collects its data from the sales representatives who does the field work of actually selling the products of the company in the market. They can provide a near accurate picture of what is actually going on in the market place in reality. Sometimes they are asked to collect specific information when they are on a field trip. The main purpose of collecting this information is to learn about the market share of the company, brand popularity, competitors’ activities as well as the market trends. These data are used to make managerial decisions on what the company is going to do next and how it should react to the changes in the market.
So even though the company has no separate department for the purpose of conducting market research, research activities are carried out by the sales and marketing team from time to time. In order to get data on the market share the company depends on the information provided by the IMS (Information Management Strategy).
Market Research at Incepta Chemical Industries Ltd:
- Well experienced and professional market researchers provide much needed as well as more accurate information on market share and prescription share.
- Not much extra effort is required for market research as the sales team and the marketing team performs it to some extent.
- Minimum expenditure
- Provides specific information as per requirement
- Survey report is little bit biased going in favor of the company
- Not every potential area is covered by the survey.
- Can set up a research department of its own
- Can take initiative to provide training to the existing sales force on market research so that they can collect the desired data in a more efficient manner.
- It is a near to impossible task to avoid being provided with biased data.
Findings of the Study:
On the basis of the questionnaire survey, theoretical analysis and practical experience of the internship program, the following findings have been identified:
Market Research Procedure:
- The market research representatives conduct their survey in the assigned areas for the duration of a month. After that they are assigned a different area for surveying in the following month. This is done to avoid any kind of surveyor bias. The representatives follow the observation method. They collect information from the prescriptions when the patients come to the pharmacies. The market research representatives at BEXIMCO are indeed skillful and patient in collecting data which are prerequisites for such a job.
- The research findings show that the market research activities that are currently undertaken by the company do play a role in the decision making of the top management. Especially the study shows that the market research activities of the company are very effective in collecting reliable and timely information about the current scenario of the market in respect to the market share. It also gives a clear picture of the position of the market leader and enables the company to assess its performance in comparison with the market leader.
- The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the market research activities of the market research department at BEXIMCO shows the following attributes
a) Well trained Market research representatives
b) Well Structured Management
c) Well Structured and systematic survey method
d) Provides realistic and up to date marketing information
a) Doesn’t use any type of data analysis software
b) Biased results are provided
c) Not adequate number of market research representatives
- Comparing the market research activities of the various pharmaceutical companies reveal that BEXIMCO is different in some particular areas:
a) Pioneer in market research
d) Effective Structure
e) Extensive Training
f) Objective based Research
g) Minimum Bias
i) Geographical coverage
j) Exploring New Markets
- Interviewing the market research personnel reveals that the market research representatives are of the opinion that there are still some areas where BEXIMCO can make some improvements. The major improvement focus suggestions are:
a) Improve technological Support
b) Introduce performance awards
c) Broader Focus
d) Hire professional researchers
e) Shorten tour duration
Points of Difference
Point of difference is an advantage over the competitors gained which delivers better and greater value than competitors do. It is a must to be unique and superior to competitors. MRC Dept. of Beximco Pharmaceuticals has some point of differences which are given as below ___
- Pioneer in market research:
BPL is the pioneer when it comes to the establishment of the market research department as far as the pharmaceutical sector is concerned. Traditionally the pharmaceutical companies in our country did not pay much heed to the need for market research. But Beximco realized that market research would definitely give it an extra edge over its competitors. Hence it has the distinction of being the initiator in market research in the industry and others only followed suit.
Because Beximco is the first in the industry to introduce the concept of the department of market research it has the most experienced market analyzers as well as market surveyors than its competitors. This certainly differentiates it from the rest of the competition. Other companies can adopt the market research strategies and techniques that are applied by the company but they cannot copy the experience that is behind the successes of the research department. Experience enables the company to assess the situation at a particular time. This also strengthens the company’s ability to react to the changes in the market place by convincing management about the findings of the research. So this is a major point of difference.
Market research is such a work that requires the field workers to be very much skillful. Beximco understands this. That is why the MRC Department of BPL hires more qualified and self motivated work force than its competitors. They are screened thoroughly in order to find the right persons for the job. Qualified personnel are the major strength of a pharmaceutical company.
- Effective Structure:
Compared to the research activities of the other companies in the market, MRC Department has a well structured and smooth technique of survey. The whole procedure is very well framed so that it can serve the proper purpose and that the efforts are not spent haphazardly. This is exemplified by the well planned tour plan that they have.
- Extensive Training:
Training has no alternative to having an efficient company. MRC Department is conducting a month long training program and different tests to make a smart, experienced & expert surveyor. Getting the right information without annoying the respondents demands a lot of skill as well as patience.
- Objective Based Research:
Beximco trains market research personnel especially to perform their tasks more effectively and efficiently. They don’t just leave it to the common sense of the surveyors but rather the surveyors know the art of collecting the required data from the target audience be it the patients for their prescription or be it from the chemists or others involved in the marketing of medicines.
Unlike some other major players in the pharmaceutical industry Beximco has persisted in the continuation of the activities of the department of market research and statistical cell.
- Minimum Bias:
Another major point of difference from the competitors is whenever a surveyor of Beximco visits a particular territory in his assigned month. He is not sent again to that particular region in the following month. This strategy has been successful in order to avoid the misrepresentation of facts about the real market scenario. In such a situation the surveyor cannot manipulate the survey findings in a way that would please the company.
The analysis about the market research activities of the Beximco pharmaceuticals shows that unlike other competitors, Beximco usually uses the market research data to find out its position as the market challenger in comparison with the market leader. This is very common with each and every research activity that the company carries out through its MRC department. So the market research activities serve as a useful tool to benchmark the company against the rest of the market.
- Geographical Coverage:
As one of the leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical products Beximco covers the whole country through its market research activities. Many other companies focus on particular geographical areas for coverage or do not in fact have the resources required to carry out the research activities throughout the country. But being a leading firm of the industry, Beximco has the ability to do so.
- Exploring New Markets:
Beximco can easily explore newer markets because it also goes to conduct research work in remote areas where their conventional distribution network doesn’t work. This helps them to find out the markets where there is a demand for medicine that the company can supply but are at present untapped. It also gives them an edge over the competitors if there is a potential market that Beximco is the first to find out.
Recommendations for Improvement
In order to succeed in business today each and every organization must be able not only to find out the needs and wants of the customers as well as the other parties involved in marketing but also it must be able to do it continuously. Otherwise it would lag behind the competition.
After my experience of doing my Intern at Beximco I think the following issues could be addressed by the company management as well as the following measures could be undertaken by them to improve the efficiency of the market research department in supplying the management with valuable information that would consequently pave the way for further consolidation of its current position in the industry.
- Improve Technological support:
Adaptation of more advanced technology in their research process would certainly make the research department much more effective. Uses of Modern softwares in all departments for accomplishing the task would benefit the organization to a great extent. Use of SPSS software will make the analysis of the collected data more effective and more efficient. It will also save a lot of time and energy.
- Performance Awards:
In order to make the research work much more productive there is no alternative to having an energetic and enthusiastic workforce. The research activities carried out by the department of market research and statistical cell requires a lot of hard work, patience and is also physically demanding. There is every possibility that the surveyors who the field work in adverse conditions may become frustrated or bored which would in turn hamper productivity. So the organization should seriously address this issue and focus on helping out the field workers. One step forward in this direction is the introduction of performance awards for the employees of the market research department. This would surely provide them with the incentive to work for and would also highlight the importance of their work.
- Broader focus:
BEXIMCO usually collects most of the market information with a focus on the gains made by the market leader square pharmaceuticals Ltd. Each and every employee engaged in the field as well as those involved in entering as well as analyzing the data know that the main in formation that the company tries to get is how square is doing and how BEXIMCO is doing in comparison to them. Although it is a very effective way to benchmark its position in the market it does make the focus of the market research activities narrower than it should be. In such situation the company may easily overlook the real threat by someone other than the market leader which would take them by surprise.
This has already started to take place as incepta pharmaceuticals is going great guns in recent times although it is a much smaller firm than BEXIMCO. In an effort to focus on the market leader square the company forgot to watch out the progress made by firms like incepta.
- Hire professional researchers:
It has to be agreed that BEXIMCO has many of the most experienced researchers in the field of the pharmaceutical industry. But yet there is a need to stay in touch with the latest advancements made by the area of marketing research. Acquiring this knowledge may provide the company with the innovative ideas that would ultimately lead to the improvement of the market research activities and the richness of the output.
One way of doing this is to hire professional market research firm who continuously do only research work for their clients throughout the world. They are rich in knowledge about marketing and do stay up to date with the current changes that are taking place. This would enable them to suggest BEXIMCO what changes in the current format would benefit the company and how they can modify the set up without disturbing the make up of the organization.
- Shorten tour duration:
The tour plan of the company is very well structured and is followed by the employees accordingly. But the duration of a month is too long for the market surveyor, especially considering the hard work that has to be done.
BEXIMCO has a firm footing in the pharmaceutical industry of our country. The visionary leadership of the top management combined with the hard work of the personnel in the organization the company is going strong. It is trying its best to occupy the market leader’s position. It does have the potential to become the market leader. And in this respect the market research department can go a great length to improve the performance of the company and making sure that the company is successful in identifying newer opportunities quicker than its competitors and can reach the market before others do.
‘Success is a journey and not a Destination’, the companies that would be the leaders today are the ones who knows what is going to happen tomorrow and shape their strategies accordingly. The organization to look out for in this millennium is the one that is the most efficient. Efficiency in the company operations as well as efficiency in the performance of the people in the organization is essential for success.
Market research activities give an insight into what can happen in the future based on the market trends which in turn is a useful aide to the decision making authority of the company. So there is no alternative to market research. Therefore BEXIMCO should also take into serious consideration the findings of the market research department and modify the research process to keep up with the demands of the day.
In fine it must be said that with the improvement of the research process and with the availability of reliable field data to be used as input into decision making, BEXIMCO is sure to succeed in the long run and truly lead the pharmaceutical field by becoming a visionary company.
Effectiveness of Market Research of A Pharmaceutical Company:
A Bangladeshi Experience
[Please give a (√) mark on your answer and fill up the blanks with answer]
1. Name of the company … … … ….
2. Does your company conduct the market research? [Yes / No]
3. Does your company have a market research department? [Yes / No]
4. Establishment date of the market research department. (…………………… ]
5. What are the methods of research?
a) Observation method b) Survey method c) others
6. How many market researchers do you have? … …
7. What are the qualifications of the market researchers?
a) SSC b) HSC c) Honors d) Masters
8. Do your company or research firm uses any data analysis software for research activities? [Yes/No]
8. Doyou think this is the right way to survey? [Yes / No]
If No, why? …………….. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10. Does your department or research firm cover the whole country for survey?
[Yes / No]
11. Do you identify a problem before conducting a survey? [Yes / No]
12. Basically what are you trying to find out from research data?
a) Market Share b) Brand popularity c) Competitors’ strength d)Others … … …
13. Which one is your target place for survey?
a) Doctor’s Clinics b) Chemist Shops c) Hospitals d) Health Complex
e) others . . . …. . . . . . . . ….
14. Are you satisfied with the result ofsurvey team? [Yes / No]
If No, why?
15. Does your company take the marketing decisions based on the survey report? [Yes/ No]
16. Do you think research firm gives biased result which is most of the time in favor of the company? [Yes / No]
If yes why? ………………………………………………………………………………..
17. Does your company or research firm face any type of problem while conducting market research? [Yes/No]
18. How does the company solve these types of problems? ………………………………………………………………………………………………
19. Do the field representatives get fixed targets for collecting the data from the field?
[Yes / No]
20. What is the current position of your company based on market share? […………… ]
Any important comments & thoughts about research activities of Pharmaceutical companies … …
(Thank you for your cooperation)
1) Malhotra.N.K., Marketing Research(4th Edition)
2) Kotler.P, Principles of Marketing(11th Edition)
3) Kotler.P & Keller.K.L, Marketing Management(12th Edition)
4) Annual Report of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Limited, 2005
5) Annual Report of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Limited, 2004.
6) Quick Index for Medical Product.
7) Quick Index for Medical Product.