- As part of its ongoing streamlining, GlaxoSmithKline has closed its manufacturing plant in Bangladesh, cutting over a thousand jobs. GSK Bangladesh supplies vaccines, antibiotics, respiratory products and dermatologicals. The GSK Consumer Healthcare business unit will continue to operate.
- According to a report on the Bangladeshi news website The Daily Star, the facility has been in operation for six decades, was outdated and incurring losses.
- The closure of the pharmaceuticals operations in Fouzderhat, Chittagong, will affect employees in marketing and commercial operations, and be effective by the end of 2018.
GlaxoSmithKline has spent the past few years offloading non-core assets, from gene therapy to anesthesia, to focus on a tighter pipeline and a better-performing portfolio. Now it's the turn of the pharmaceutical operations in Bangladesh, which the local press reports is an old plant that has been losing money for years.
Business growth for pharmaceuticals for GSK Bangladesh was only 4% in 2017, according to the GSK Bangladesh 2017 annual report. In addition, the Chittagong manufacturing plant faced challenges caused by restricted raw material supply, increased internal compliance and regulatory expectations for manufacturing and supply operations.
Bangladesh is also home to a number of generics companies, and imports medicines from lower-cost markets like China, upping competition.
"Following a business review, GSK Bangladesh Limited is proposing the closure of the commercially unsustainable manufacturing and commercial operations of its pharmaceutical business unit. GSK will… provide [employees] with support during this challenging time," a GSK spokesperson told BioPharma Dive in an email.
"Bangladesh has a very vibrant and strong local pharmaceutical industry. All of our medicines are substitutable with generics and therefore, patients should be able to access a range of suitable alternatives."
The figures in the unaudited report for GSK Bangladesh for the six months ending June 2018 showed a fall in net profit year-on-year, from Taka 232.19 million (around $2.75 million) to Taka 182.39 million (around $2.16 million). The better performing consumer healthcare arm, which is being retained, grew by 10.3% in 2017, driven by Horlicks and Sensodyne.