The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has given the green light for a $336.5 million loan to boost vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostics manufacturing in Bangladesh.
This move aims to fortify the country’s ability to produce its medical supplies and enhance its Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) to ensure a steady vaccine supply.
Dinesh Arora, ADB Principal Health Specialist, emphasized the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, stating it revealed the challenges in obtaining testing kits, vaccines, and preparedness for such crises.
The project’s key objective is to bolster Bangladesh’s resilience against future pandemics, enhance vaccine supply security, and decrease the impact of vaccine-preventable diseases. It will involve setting up a manufacturing facility at Essential Drugs Company Limited’s (EDCL) site in Gopalganj, with the capacity to produce 58 million vaccine vials annually.
The loan from ADB will aid DGDA in upgrading its regulatory capacity to meet the standards of ‘WHO maturity level 3’ and beyond.
This upgrade aims to establish a robust regulatory system, foster international collaboration and trade, and increase private sector involvement in Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical industry.
As part of the project, both EDCL and DGDA will receive training for their staff. This training will cover essential GMPs (good manufacturing practice), quality assurance, quality control, and compliance with biosafety levels in programs related to validation and calibration.