Roche sees more prospects in Bangladesh market

  • Nurul Islam Hasib,
    Published: 2019-11-07 07:17:57 BdST


Roche pharma is eager to do more for the cancer patients as the Switzerland-based healthcare company sees more prospects in Bangladesh market.

Roche Central Eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia and Indian Subcontinent (CEETRIS) Area Head Adriano Antonio Treve in an interview made the comment at a time when multinational companies are facing a hard time in the fierce competition against Bangladesh’s burgeoning pharmaceutical business. GSK has shut its pharma business in Bangladesh while Sanofi Aventis is preparing to wind up operations.

The annual turnover of Roche in Bangladesh where they mostly sell cancer drugs is about 10 million Swiss Franc,

“Despite all issues, we see many spaces to do ethical business here in Bangladesh and ensure that innovative molecule is available to Bangladesh,” Treve told

“We see our possibilities of expansion in terms of bringing new products and serving more patients. We have been here for long three decades and we see another long way to continue our journey and make an impact on the patients’ lives,” he said at the Roche office in Dhaka.

Treve was one of the key persons to have been involved during Roche’s Bangladesh sojourn that began more than 30 years ago.

“We are currently focusing on oncology and serving cancer patients. We aim to deliver more outcomes to more patients faster,” he said.

“Our personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients.”

Treve lauded Bangladesh’s progress and said the recent achievements in the fight against communicable diseases are “very positive” for the future.

“The pharmaceutical industry is still a generic-driven market and there is a scope to do more with biologics and making innovative products available for the patients.

“The pharma industry is often considered as a business entity across the world but Roche is beyond a business organisation and focused to serve patients by collaborating with development initiatives,” he said.

“In terms of cancer care, I believe Bangladesh is on the right track (in terms of) commitment and vision. We hope Bangladesh will also make achievements in the fight against Non- Communicable Diseases.”

The Indian sub-continent area head sounded keen to support the government in developing the planned eight cancer centres in as many divisions.

“We are excited about the cancer centres seeing the future of the cancer care in Bangladesh. We are open to dialogue with government on how we can be a partner in this journey,” he said.

“As we bring solutions to new therapeutic area and research, innovation is the first thing that is coming to the country with us. We can do so much by collaborating in this journey, for example, by facilitating inclusion of patients in clinical trials and there are a lot of aspects to collaborate,” he said.

“If we could know the detail plans of the cancer centres and potential scopes to contribute, we are open to dialogue and collaboration.

“We can work on helping decide treatment options, know-how that we can share, data management and disease management.”

The senior Roche official said they have similar experiences in other countries like scientific partnership for the physicians for cancer and other diseases.

What are the challenges?

“Bangladesh still lack a nation-wide awareness campaign for prevention and control of cancer,” he replied.

“Relevant policies are coming in and we believe participation of the stakeholders would make those policies more effective.

“Primary screening, diagnostic service and affordability are the key challenges for cancer care plan in Bangladesh. We have fantastic medicines to serve patients and we are very much looking forward to the expansion of our portfolio.”

In Roche CEETRIS area head’s view, sometimes the long time spent on registrations is a barrier to serving patients faster.

“Customs duties, regulations with some long processes hamper access to treatment, which can be solved easily if addressed properly. In addition, we believe the government has that willingness to help organisations and make a better environment for everyone.”