The objective of this study was to comprehend the pricing differentiation of essential drugs between the local pharmaceutical companies (LPC) and multinational pharmaceutical companies (MNC) of Bangladesh. Thirty five (35) essential drug prices were collected from a local drug directory, namely Bangladesh National Formulary 2006. The mean and standard deviation of the prices of drugs belonging to all therapeutics categories (Anti-infective drugs, Central nervous system, Respiratory system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, Endocrine system drugs, Vitamin, drugs for Skin and Analgesic/painkillers) were analyzed. Managers of two multinational companies (MNCs) named GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh Limited Bangladesh and Sanafi Aventis Bangladesh; and three local pharmaceutical companies (LPCs) named Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited and Incepta Pharmaceuticals Limited were interviewed after data analysis. A wide range of price variations (p < 0.01) between MNC and LPC essential drug products exist. Antibiotics have higher prices than drug products belonging to other therapeutic groups. Since infectious diseases are the major cause of morbidity and mortality in Bangladesh, the government should consider bearing part of the burden of antibiotic manufacturing costs and deliver antibiotics to the market at reduced price promoting rational prescribing. Further studies are needed to delve the causes of anti-infectives high prices and to propose affordability for treating infectious diseases. This study evaluates the present situation of the pharmaceutical marketing and pricing strategies in Bangladesh in light of the status of the essential drug market. This study will be helpful to assess essential drug affordability, to keep pricing strategies appraised, to advise the drug administration of options and to arrange for appropriate levels of public healthcare.
Key words: Local pharmaceutical company (LPC), multinational pharmaceutical company (MNC), essential drugs, Bangladesh.
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