Pharmaceutical Business


Executive summary

Bangladesh is a developing country in the world. The country has been developing its different business sectors and pharmaceutical business is one the highest priority business in Bangladesh. The country has been developing its information technologies in different business sectors, including pharmaceuticals. In Bangladesh, the pharmaceutical businesses are producing medicines and drugs that are capable of meeting local demand as well as exporting to different foreign countries. The pharmaceutical businesses, such as Sqaure, Beximco, Acme, Incepta, Renata etc. have been using information technologies for the purpose of effective and appropriate operations and management of the business. Some of the businesses have achieved competitive advantages in the market because of their practices to use of information technologies. For example, Square pharmaceuticals Ltd has been using information technologies in supply chain management and thus achieving competitive advantage in the market. In similar ways, other pharmaceutical businesses are using information technologies in their production process and overall business management.

Based on the issues and concerns identified from the review of literatures as well as from the primary research, it is clear that the use of information technologies has significant roles to ensure better operations and management of the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. Finally, the researcher would like to opine that there is close interconnected link and interdependence between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Chapter 1: Introduction and Background

Pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh has been growing over last few years. Bangladesh has improved its health care through domestic and some international pharmaceutical businesses. In similar pace, information technology has becoming key concern on the development and economic improvement of Bangladesh. Information technology has been playing significant roles in operating and managing a business, particularly pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. So, the selection of this research project on the investigation of relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh is appropriate and relevant from personal, academic and organizational perspective.

In Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business has been considering as highest and top priority business because of its benefits to the country as well as foreign revenues through exporting medicines and drugs (UK Trade & Investment, 2010). Pharmaceutical business is heading self-sufficiency in meeting local demand in health care with medicines and drugs. There are more than 230 small, medium, large and multinational companies operating in the country producing around 97% of the total demand. The sector is the second highest contributor to the national ex-chequer after tobacco and it is the largest white-collar intensive employment sector in Bangladesh. 95% of the total demand of Bangladesh is being met by local manufacturing. The remaining 5% basically constitute import of much specialised products like vaccines, anticancer products and hormone drugs (UK Trade & Investment, 2010). In Bangladesh, IT has becoming vital part in operating and managing different businesses. The use of information and communication technology has been playing a vital role in the 21st century due to globalization and the government is encouraged to adapting with the coming future.

The democratic government of Bangladesh has declared Digital Bangladesh. The philosophy of “Digital Bangladesh” comprises ensuring people’s democracy and rights, transparency, accountability, establishing justice and ensuring delivery of government services in each door through maximum use of technology-with the ultimate goal to improve the daily lifestyle of general people (Board of Investment Bangladesh, 2012). Kalani (2011) has described that in the area of pharmacy, there are volumes of data with respect to drug formulations, chemical compounds for drugs, details of clinical trials, etc. which can be stored using IT. Pharmaceutical companies are using IT across various functional areas like Research & Development (R&D), Quality Control (QC), Quality Assurance (QA), Clinical Development, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing and Corporate Management. Not only the industries, but also hospital, clinical and community pharmacies are acknowledging the importance of IT solutions. Information Technology is used to assist the delivery of pharmaceutical care, medication regimen adherence, and patient safety, measurement of therapeutic outcomes and patients’ self-care management. According to Kalani (2011), today, a number of software solutions are commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the popular ones are: i. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); ii. Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS); iii. Sales Force Automation (SFA); and iv. Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Thus, from the above discussion and explanation of pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh, the researcher would like to opine that there is close link and interaction with pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

 Aims and objectives of research

The primary aim of this research project is to investigate the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. The author would like to mention following other aims and objectives of this research project-

  • To review relevant previous research in relation to identify and analyse the current approaches and practices of pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh;
  • To explore and analyse key benefits of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh;
  • To explore and analyse key benefits of information technology in Bangladesh;
  • To investigate and analyse how information technologies are helping to achieve competitive advantage through efficient operation and management of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh;
  • To collect data and information on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh through using most effective and appropriate research methods, such as telephone interview and postal survey; and
  • To make valid conclusions and recommendations on the relationships on pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh through analysing and presenting collected data in most effectively and appropriately.

 Research questions

The primary research question of this research project is what are the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh? The researcher has used several research questions during the telephone interview and postal survey for the purpose of collecting data based on the primary research question as well as overall research aims and objectives. Here some of the example of research questions that have used to collect primary data from four major, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta as well as other pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh-

  • Do you think (interviewee and respondent) pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh has close link and integration to increase organizational performance?
  • What are the most common benefits and opportunities of using information technology in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh?
  • How your company has been using information technologies to ensure better operation and management of the business and thus achieving competitive advantage against other competitors in the pharmaceutical markets?
  • Does information technology have playing significant roles in managing supply chain of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh?
  • What are the future plans and policies of your company to improve and increase the use of information technologies to increase operational efficiency and thus improve organizational performance than others in the market?
  • What are your comments and suggestions on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh?

 Rationale of research

The researcher was self-motivated and self-inspired to select such type of research project. The researcher believes that this research project has value and significance from different perspectives, such as personal, academic and organization. For example, the researcher has been studying business management, so the investigation of relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh will helpful to improve knowledge and understanding on managing business in most effectively and efficiently. On the other hand, during the review of literature, the researcher has identified some gaps in knowledge and understanding on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information in Bangladesh that can be fill-up through this research project. In similar ways, the researcher has identified some issues from the review of literature that can be used for further and future research. Thus, it can be noted that this research project has value and importance from academic point of view. Finally, the researcher has collected data from four major pharmaceutical firms, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta and other businesses in Bangladesh. During the data collection, the researcher has explored some issues and concerns on the use of information technology in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh that has research value from organizational perspective.   

Future scopes of research

This research project has created many scopes and opportunities for future and further research in the field of pharmaceutical business and information technology. For example, the researcher has identified that information technologies have playing vital roles in managing supply chain within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh, particularly at Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Through using information technologies, Square Pharmaceutical Ltd has been increasing its operational efficiency by effectively managing supply chain and thus increasing organizational performance. So, there are great scopes and opportunities for further and future research on the use of information technologies in managing supply chain to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Thus, the researcher would like to say that this research project has created several scopes for the future study on the pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.  

Limitations of research

Rubin and Babbie (2009) have stated that in any research there are some factors that can affect the quality and validity of the research, known as research limitations. The researcher would like to mention following factors that may affect the overall research activities and thus the preparation of research report-

  1. Lack of available time to review all relevant literatures. So, the limited review of literature may affect the basic issues and concerns as well as debate on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.
  2. Limited number of samples, such as interviewee and respondents. Due to limited time and financial resources, the researcher has carried out interview and survey with small number of sample size. Thus, data collection was affected by limited number of samples.
  3. Concern of ethical issues, such as confidentiality, privacy and informed consent. The validity of the research findings may be questionable because of different ethical issues. For instance, the researcher has conducted telephone interview and postal survey, so there may have false data and thus it can affect the valid conclusions on research topic.

Study outline of all chapters

The researcher would like to represent study outline of all chapters as following table-

Table: 1.1. Study outlines of all chapters in this research project
Name of chapter Discussion of all issues in each chapter
Chapter 1: Introduction and Background This chapter has been designated to discuss and explain some of the key issues of research project, including study background, rationale of study, research aims and objectives, research questions, scopes of the study and overall limitations of the research etc.
Chapter 2: Review of Literature The researcher has identified and analysed some of the relevant issues and concerns through review of literature in this chapter. Some of the most common issues are- discussion on pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh, discussion on information technology in Bangladesh, role of IT on pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh etc.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology In this chapter, the researcher has discussed and explained different aspects of research methodology. For example, research philosophy, research approach, research deign, questionnaire design, research sampling, data analysis tools and techniques, data presentation techniques and consideration of ethical issues etc. have elaborated in this chapter.
Chapter 4: Research Findings and Analysis This chapter has been designated to present both primary and secondary research findings and their analysis. The researcher has used some statistical and descriptive methods for the purpose of presenting and analysing both qualitative and quantitative data collected from primary, secondary and tertiary sources.
Chapter 5: Conclusions and Recommendations This is the final chapter of this research project. The researcher has provided conclusions and recommendations on the relationship of pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh based on the primary and secondary research findings.

Source: Author’s analysis

Chapter 2: Review of Literature

Introduction

This chapter has been designated to explore existing theories and practices in relation to the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. The researcher has divided this chapter into three sections, such as the discussion on the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh, the discussion on information technology in Bangladesh and the link and connections between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Review of literature is one of the most common and important aspects of a research project that has significant roles to explore and analyse issues and concerns of previous research works in accordance with proposed research topic. Saunders et al. (2009) have mentioned that review of literature provides the framework and foundation of the research project as well as provides following benefits to the researcher-

  1. To identify and analyse some of the most appropriate and effective matters relating to research topic from different previous research works;
  2. To avoid just repetition of the previous research works and thus helps the researcher to analyse the identified issues and concerns to make valid conclusions and recommendation; and
  3. To develop an approach of conducting research activities to collect both primary and secondary data and information in accordance with identified issues and concerns from review of literature.

Thus, the researcher would like to opine that the review of literature has crucial influence and importance on overall research project from exploring related issues and concerns to collecting relevant data and information for the purpose of marking valid conclusions and recommendations.

Key elements from the review of literature

The researcher has divided the review of literature into three parts, such as the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh, the improvement of information technology (IT) in Bangladesh and the relationship between pharmaceutical business and IT in Bangladesh.

A. The pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh: Bangladesh is located in Southern part of the Asian continent and considered as one of the mostly populated country into the world (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2012). Bangladesh has been developing and improving its economic conditions with the development of different businesses, such as ready-made garments, agricultural growth, telecommunications, pharmaceutical business and so on (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2012). It can be noted that Bangladesh has made significant economic progress in the past few years, whereas the rise of pharmaceutical business is noticeable among other businesses.

According to UK Trade & Investment (2010), pharmaceutical business is one of the highest priority sectors in Bangladesh and with an annual two-digit growth rate the Bangladesh pharmaceutical business is now heading towards self-sufficiency in meeting local demand. There are more than 230 small, medium, large and multinational companies operating in the country producing around 97% of the total demand. The sector is the second highest contributor to the national ex-chequer after tobacco and it is the largest white-collar intensive employment sector in Bangladesh. 95% of the total demand of Bangladesh is being met by local manufacturing. The remaining 5% basically constitute import of much specialised products like vaccines, anti-cancer products and hormone drugs (UK Trade & Investment, 2010). Bangladesh has big opportunity into the new chemical entity with the sharing of its long years of experiences in pharmaceutical formulation and marketing.

For example, Habib and Alam (2011) have noted that the pharmaceutical business developed rapidly from the 1980s after the introduction of Drug (Control) Ordinance-1982. They have mentioned that the country has started to export its products in foreign markets, especially in the Middle East and Europe with great success. The pharmaceutical business is one of the thrust sectors in Bangladesh, and before liberalization in 1971, there was hardly pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh, however, after the liberation, the country has made significant improvement and development of the pharmaceutical business with the skills and knowledge of the professionals and innovative ideas of the people involved in this business are the key factors for these development and improvement (Habib and Alam, 2011).

The researcher has revealed information from www.pharmadu.net (2012) that shows that due to recent development in pharmaceutical business, the country (Bangladesh) is exporting medicines to global market including European countries and on the top of it, the business has been supplying about 95% of the domestic demands for medicines. In 2007 total size of the pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh was estimated to be US$700 million. The industry produced medicines worth $715 million in 2007 with the market growing over 12% annually over the last half a decade. The industry also exported drugs worth a record $32 million in the first nine months of fiscal year 2007-8. At present Bangladesh is exporting 67 different countries of the world (UK Trade & Investment, 2010).

At present, there are 240 registered Pharmaceutical manufacturers in Bangladesh. The country is producing more than 5000 Crore Taka worth of drugs and pharmaceuticals in about 12,500 plus brands (UK Trade & Investment 2010). Domestic manufacturers dominate the Bangladesh pharmaceutical industry with local companies enjoying a market share of around 80%, while the multinational Companies are having a market share of 20%. Out of top ten pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh, seven are local pharmaceutical companies. The top two domestic manufacturers, namely square & Beximco are having a market share of about 25%, while the other manufacturers contribute about 60% of the total pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh (UK Trade & Investment, 2010). The researcher has revealed that Bangladesh has both domestic and international businesses in pharmaceutical industries and the major four and their overall business aspects can be shown as follows-

Table: 2.1. Major four pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh
Renata pharmaceutical Ltd Beximco pharmaceutical Ltd Square pharmaceutical Ltd Acme pharmaceutical Ltd
Year of establishment 1972 1976 1958 1954
Net profit after tax 851.42 million taka 1051.65 million taka 2532.05 million taka
Investment 100% shareholding in Renata Agro Industries Limited It is share group of Beximco Group It is a public company having shares of 19,617,390
Product diversity It has more than 300 products. It has been producing more than 400 products. It has a large number of products. It is the second largest manufacturer and exporter of human, herbal and animal health pharmaceutical products in Bangladesh.

Source: Rahaman et al., 2011

Fernandes (2006) has presented some statistical analysis of the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh that can shown as follows-

Table: 2.2. Statistical analysis of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh
Average Median Coefficient of variation
Sales per worker 13138 8158 0.86
Number of workers 430 305 0.82
Sales 7029916 2382675 1.54
Material costs 3802787 1231669 1.58
Real investment 665290 61222 3.95
Capital stock 5490111 1532507 2.83

Source: Fernandes (2006)

According to Kremer (2002), pharmaceutical businesses have greatly improved health in developing countries, including Bangladesh, and however, there is some lacking to provide competitive prices of products to all and thus there is need for facilitating differential pricing. It is suggested that under conditions of rapidly changing demand (as found in pharmaceuticals), price-caps could be manipulated and using simulations. The recent acquisition of the German pharmaceuticals and diagnostics company Boehringer Mannheim by F Hoffmann – La Roche illustrates how such huge business transactions meet with trade unions which are completely unprepared (Zeller, 2000). Despite of having some problems in pharmaceutical business, it has achieved remarkable growth and has amble opportunity to grow in future in Bangladesh (Ullah and Razzak, 2006).

Bangladesh has both private and public limited business in pharmaceutical sectors. The manufacturers are now producing near about 5,600 brands of medicines in different forms (Habib and Alam, 2011). They have stated that the local business is extraordinarily increasing the production of basic chemicals and at present, there are 13 medicinal product manufacturing units, which also manufacture certain basic materials. According to UK Trade & Investment (2010), Bangladesh has the strongest base to manufacture pharmaceutical products, among the 49 Least Developed Countries in the world. The success of the pharmaceutical business depends on several factors, such as the price of products, the types of products, the marketing of products, and the distribution channels, the promotional offers, and the incentives to the employees etc.

As an example, Habib and Alam (2011) have mentioned that the success of a pharmaceutical business intensively depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of the medical representatives. So, it is clear that there is need for information technology to improve and increase the business performance of the pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh. A competent regulatory authority known as the Directorate of Drug Administration, Bangladesh ensures compliance of the manufacturing facility and practices with the requirements of CGPM & regulation. Specification & test methods for Raw materials & Drug Products are based on British Pharmacopoeia (BP), United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), and European Pharmacopoeia (EP). The Quality Assurance System in place ensures that the facility, equipment, process and test methods are validated and instruments are routinely calibrated qualified and trained (UK Trade & Investment, 2010).

Thus, from the above discussion and explanation, the researcher would like to opine that Bangladesh has tremendous opportunities to develop pharmaceutical business for the purpose of meeting total demand of the country as well as exporting to different countries of the world.

B. The improvement of IT in Bangladesh: Bangladesh has relatively long experience in the use of computers, a part of information technology and the first- “second generation’’ computer was installed in 1964 at Dhaka. But due to changes in political aspects and economic crisis of the country, the country faced huge problems with the development and improvement of information technology (Choudhury, 2001). He has stated that Bangladesh has tremendous opportunities for the development and improvement of information technology within the country. As an example, Choudhury (2001) has noted that in order to enable the young entrepreneurs in the IT field, a special fund has been created by the government to provide working capital loan without any collaterals. A venture capital fund is also being set up and the government of Bangladesh has placed top most priority to develop human resources in the field of IT.

According to Raihan and Habib (2008), Bangladesh has become more visible on the global ICT (Information and Communication Technology) during the last decade. Both the government and private sector have become more active in harnessing ICT to facilitate economic growth and development of the country. The government of Bangladesh has declared ICT as a priority sector and the country’s ICT industry is characterized by increasing availability of computers and internet use, expansion of the telecommunication network, and a growing number of software development etc. (Raihan and Habib, 2008). According to Sustainable Development Network Programme-SDNP (2000), the scopes of computerization and effective application are severely under using due to many governmental policies. For instance, due to withdraw taxes from computer prices of computer and computer related items dropped drastically and become affordable to general communities and for this reason, there is great improvement in information technology in Bangladesh (SDNP, 2000).

Hossain (2012) has noted that Bangladesh software industry is expected to see a robust growth despite global economic recession. He also noted that the country has earned US$ 31 million in fiscal 2009-10 and US$ 27 million in fiscal 2010-11 against the export of software in the world market. The government is implementing a project to set up computer lab with Internet facility in the country’s 3,172 educational institutions aimed at developing IT literate human resource. Besides, initiative has been taken to formulate necessary policy and guideline for introducing digital signature while office of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) has been established for issuing electronic signature. Rahman (2009) has described that both the ruling and opposition parties in Bangladesh, i.e. Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) emphasized ICT development as a core issue. With the landslide victory of AL in the recent general election of December 29, 2008, the making of an ICT-driven society in Bangladesh is now a real possibility. The election manifesto of AL pledged with ICT commitment that cuts across the whole range of social, economic and governance development issues. The AL assured to build a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ where people will get a developed life, free from crime, corruption, misrule and face the challenges of the 21st century. The main opposition, BNP also mentioned a number of times that they started the programme in their tenure and would complete it earlier than 2021. Therefore, the destination for the new generation is correctly pointed out towards a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and there is no disagreement on the issue among the parties.

Bangladesh as a country with 150 million population has huge potential, despite having many problems. It is very important to create skilled manpower educated in science and technology. Currently, the people of Bangladesh remain far away from using ICT, when the whole world is getting developed with the blessings of ICT. Rahman (2009) has mentioned that the people of the country face this discrimination only because of economic insolvency. Due to poverty and illiteracy, use of ICT is beyond imagination and some of them consider it nothing but mere a fashion. Despite having a lot of interest, most of the population remain out of the access of ICT because of high price. In the era of globalization, ICT is a cross-cutting issue as well as an essential tool for economic development. It can play an important role in creating employment, raising work skills and production. It can contain corruption and attain social development. The adoption of ICT can bring corruption-free, citizen-centric and forward-looking governance in the country. The life and livelihood of a large number of populations, especially those living in rural areas, cannot be developed without utilizing the ICT scope for them (Rahman, 2009).

C. The relationship between pharmaceutical business and IT in Bangladesh: The rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry has led to numerous articles in the local and international media in which they in addition to IT and the “business process outsourcing” as a testament to the rise of a high- tech economy has been quoted in Bangladesh. But the technological advancements, entrepreneurial flair and the export performance of a portion of the units’ chemical industry are in sharp contrast to the condition of the Bangladesh health care system. Bangladesh government has been spending 0.9% of gross domestic products into the public health sector. The industry itself admits that some 250 million people rule in Bangladesh, modern medicine cannot afford (WHO, 2004, pp. 246-60).  

Pharmaceutical business and IT is becoming key concern in Bangladesh. From the previous research, it is clear that there is close link and relations between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. For example, Bagazonzya et al. (2010) have mentioned that the use of IT has been playing vital roles within pharmaceutical business and some of the roles are include-

  • Appropriate operations and management of the business with using automatic control through the use of computer;
  • The manufacturing and production process can be run by the technologies; and
  • The use of digital information to make financial reports and thus analyse the financial as well as organizational performance of the business.

For the purpose of investigating and analysing the relationship between pharmaceutical business and IT in Bangladesh, the researcher has review literature on the role of IT in four major pharmaceutical businesses, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Renata Pharmaceutical Ltd in Bangladesh.

Table: 2.3. The use of IT within four major pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh
Name of company The use of IT
Square Pharmaceutical Ltd i. The business has been using IT for supporting, developing and maintaining software and all types of system support within the departments;ii. The business has been using IT for its production related activities;iii. Through the use of SAP, the business is achieving competitive advantage against others using same technology or who do not use the modern technology; and

iv. The business has greater opportunities to use IT rather than production activities for different purposes.

Beximco Pharmaceutical Ltd i. The business has been developing supporting hardware and software and all types of system support at the head office, factory and the distribution centres;ii. The business has managing information system department for the purpose of taking care of total automation, hardware & software network support for the company and factory;iii. The operational headquarter is linked to the corporate headquarters through fibre optic cable;

iv. The business has been maintaining the radio-link between the factor and the head office and all distribution centres through dial-up internet; and

v. The in-house software development and maintenance of the MIS deals with software design and development that can be used for sales analysis, credit collection monitoring etc.

Acme Pharmaceutical Ltd i. The business has well-organized system for the use of IT into different aspects, such as automated buying process, first accounts, inventory and sales etc.;ii. All of the departments of the business is interconnected through using virtual private network;iii. The key purpose of using IT is to ensure both inside and outside security of the business; and

iv. The business has been making all transactions through computers.

Renata Pharmaceutical Ltd i. Managers are using IT as one of the many tools to cope with change;ii. In most cases, the business is using computerized information systems;iii. The business has computerized systems that includes- software for tracking packages, fee calculation, and customer account maintenance as well as managing logistics; an intranet connection; and the internet etc.;

iv. Through the use of IT, the business system is continuously updated to support direct data interaction with both suppliers and customers; and

v. The key focus on the use of IT is in supply chain management.

Source: Rahaman et al., 2011

Usa (2009) has stated that the use of IT can improve quality of pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh by adopting following five potential mechanisms-

  • Export-led quality improvement: The pharmaceutical business can use IT to ensure quality in the production and manufacturing process and thus ensure quality products for exporting to different countries.
  • Competition-led improvement: The pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh is facing intense competition and thus the use of IT can provide competitive edge to the business.
  • Private sector-led improvement: The private sector always play vital roles to maintain and monitor quality of the products in any business, including pharmaceutical business and thus the use of IT can lead to improve quality products through private sector-led improvement.
  • Knowledge transfer-led improvement: Most firms in Bangladesh want to provide the highest quality drugs possible and here there is lack of using information technologies. So, the use of IT can increase share of knowledge and thus improve quality of the products and services into the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.
  • Regulatory-led quality improvement: The government of a country can adopt very strict regulation to improve quality of products for a business, such as pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

Supply chain management is one of the key concerns for pharmaceutical business where there is need for information technology to ensure better coordination and integration among the different processes, including the movement of material, information and finances within the business (Uddin, 2005).

Uddin (2005) has noted that supply chain management flows can be divided into three flows- the product flow, the information flow and the finance flow. To ensure effective and appropriate flow of all these things within the pharmaceutical business, the IT has crucial influence. For example, the information flow involves transmitting order and updating the status of the delivery and in this case IT is an important part to ensure relevant information flow among the different departments of the pharmaceutical business (Uddin, 2005).

i. Raw material procurement and IT: Information technology has significant roles to ensure quality raw materials procurement by a business, such as pharmaceutical business. According to Mayer Information Technology (2012), IT has several roles on raw material procurement including- i. A real time information system; ii. Integrated approach to provide views of the information; iii.  Better access by company to get information on product availability through information interface; and iv. To improve inventory management and costing in procurement with effective information flow etc.

ii. Processing of raw materials and IT: In pharmaceutical business, the processing of raw material is very important and in this case IT has crucial influence on it. For instance, Burande (2007) has noted that the processing of raw materials is termed as the conversion of materials into suitable dosage forms and this can be done through the use of IT.

iii. Quality assurance and IT: Quality assurance is one the key concerns within pharmaceutical business. According to Luttrell et al. (2005), quality cannot be inspected and tested into finished product, so each step of manufacturing process must be controlled to ensure quality of the finished product and this can be done through the use of IT.

iv. Production and manufacturing process and IT: The production and manufacturing process is another vital issue within pharmaceutical business. As an example, Partington (2009) has mentioned that isolation technology has been playing significant roles in pharmaceutical manufacturing process. He has also mentioned that isolation technology is important because products and materials are transferred in and out of the isolator using sophisticated system that safely contains the potent material.

Distribution of products and IT: The distribution systems for pharmaceutical products are differing from distribution of other products. The manufactured products distributed to warehouse and then super stockist. From super stockist, manufactured products distribute to stockist, sub-stockist and hospitals and then finally reach to the patients and consumers. In all cases, IT has significant roles to ensure appropriate distribution of products within pharmaceutical business in any country, like Bangladesh (Bio-Pharma International, 2008).

v. Communication system and channel and IT: Communication system is considered as a management function of a business that offers a framework for effective coordination among different sections both internal and external (Levrino, 2010). He has mentioned that IT has been helping to develop effective systems and channels to communicate with each other within pharmaceutical business.

vi. Inventory management and IT: According to Shah (2012), inventory management is essential for efficient and smooth production as well as sales operation within a business, such as pharmaceutical business. He has noted that the use of IT can ensure appropriate forecasting of the market and economic conditions of supply as regards the availability of materials.

Key summary of the review of literature

The researcher has explore and identify several issues and concerns on the pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh from different tertiary sources, such as books, articles, journals, publications and different websites. The author would like to mention key summary of the literature review as follows-

Table: 2.4. Key summary of the review of literature
Name of author/authority  Year of publication Main issue and concern on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh
Saunders et al 2009 Explanation on the importance, including framework and foundation of research, avoid repetition, basis for research analysis etc. of review of literature towards a research project.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office 2012 Bangladesh has been improving its economic conditions with the help of pharmaceutical business and information technology.
UK Trade & Investment 2010 Pharmaceutical business is considered as most priority business that has significant impact on the growth of the country’s healthcare and supply of drugs and medicines.
Habib and Alam 2011 Pharmaceutical business has been expanding and growing in Bangladesh with meeting domestic needs and demands as well as exporting into foreign markets.
UK Trade & Investment 2010 In Bangladesh, the total pharmaceutical business in 2007 was US$700 million and it has been exporting products in 67 different countries of the world.
Kremer 2002 Pharmaceutical businesses have greatly improved the health of Bangladesh.
Ullah and Razzak 2006 Pharmaceutical business has achieved remarkable growth and has amble opportunities for future in Bangladesh.
Choudhury 2001 Bangladesh has been facing several problems with the development of information technology; however, there are great opportunities for the development and improvement of information technologies in Bangladesh.
Raihan and Habib 2008 Bangladesh has developed and improved information technology with the policies of government and help of some private sectors.
WHO 2004 Pharmaceutical business has boosted in Bangladesh for the purpose of delivering health care system to its population with the improvement and development in internet use, expansion of telecommunications and other uses of information technologies within the country.
Rahaman et al 2011 Information technologies are using by major pharmaceutical businesses, including Square, Beximco, Renata and Acme pharmaceutical Ltd in relation to manage the business in most effectively and efficiently.
Usa 2009 The use of IT can improve the current practices and processes of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh through applying five mechanisms, such as export-led quality improvement, competition-led improvement, regulatory-led requirement, private-led improvement and knowledge transfer-led improvement etc.
Uddin 2005 Information technology is using in supply chain management at Square and thus achieving competitive advantages against other competitors in the pharmaceutical markets.

Source: Author’s analysis

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Introduction

Research methodology is one of the most common and important parts of a research project that focus on the overall research approach and data collection approach as well as data analysis and presentation tools and techniques. So, research methodology has significant influence on the completion of research activities for the purpose of collecting relevant data and information and thus making standard research report with valid conclusions and recommendations. For example, Saunders et al. (2009) have mentioned that research methodology is considered as key part of a research project that help the researcher to design the research, to formulate research questionnaire, to determine sample and sample size, to develop appropriate tools and techniques to analyse and present collected data etc.

In this chapter, the researcher has discussed and explained some of the most important issues of research methodology, including research methodology, research philosophy, research approach, research designs and techniques, research questionnaire, research sampling, data analysis tools and techniques and finally data presentation tools and techniques. So, it can be noted that this chapter has covered all of the relevant issues and concerns of research methodology for this research project.

Research methodology

According to Khanzode (2007), research is a systematic activity to achieve the truth that includes the procedure of collecting data, analysing the data and finding the conclusion. He has mentioned that the purpose of research can be differing but there are several things, known as research methodology that should be followed and maintained by the researcher. Khanzode (2007) has mentioned following types of research methodology-

  1. Descriptive versus analytical research: In descriptive research, the researcher has to discuss several things based on different characteristics to make conclusions. On the other hand, in analytical research, the researcher has to work on the available information for the purpose of analysing of several things to make valid conclusions.
  2. Applied versus fundamental research: In applied researcher, the researcher tries to find the solutions for a particular problem that has value for research. On contrast, fundamental research is a new research project that investigates or explores new issues and concerns about a particular thing.
  3. Conceptual versus empirical research: In conceptual research, there is certain view of idea that should be coordinated to complete research project. On the other hand, empirical research includes various information exist in data form and the conclusions are made based on the sample observation.
  4. Quantitative versus qualitative research: In quantitative research, there is focus on the quantity of a particular thing, while in qualitative research; there is focus on the quality of a particular thing. In quantitative research, data mainly comes in the form of number, on the other hand, in qualitative research data comes in the form of description.

The researcher has collected data both in the form of quantity, such as postal survey results, and quality, such as telephone interview results. So, it can be noted that this research project is based on the quantitative and qualitative research methodology.

Research philosophy

Research philosophy has significant impacts on the overall research project. For instance, Easterby-Smith et al (1997) have identified following main reasons of exploration research philosophy that has significant influence on research methodology-

  • Firstly, it can help the researcher to refine and specify the research methods to be used in a study as well as to clarify overall research strategy to be used.
  • Secondly, knowledge of research philosophy will enable and assist the researcher to evaluate different methodology and methods and to avoid inappropriate use and unnecessary work by identifying limitations of each method.

The most common research philosophies are as follows-

Positivism: According to positivism things can be studied as hard facts and the relationship between these facts can be established as scientific laws (Smith, 1998). So, he has stated that for positivists, such laws have the status of truth and social objects can be studied in much the same way as natural objects. A major criticism of positivism philosophy is that it does not provide the means to examine the human beings and their behaviours in an in-depth way (Parahoo, 1997).

Post-positivism: Post-positivism provides an alternative to the traditions and foundations of positivism for conducting disciplined inquiry. For the post-positivist researcher reality is not a rigid thing, instead it is a creation of those individuals involved in the research (Hughes, 1994).

Realism: Benton and Craib (2001, p.120-121) recognise four key features of realism: it assumes that something exists independently; it incorporates representation and the philosophy of reflexivity; it regards surface meaning as being potentially misleading and it is falliblist in that interpretation will be open to further correction in the light of new evidence.

Interpretivism: According to interpretivism, the reality can be understood through subjective interpretation of reality and intervention in reality. The study of phenomena in their natural environment is key to the interpretive philosophy, together with the acknowledgement that scientists cannot avoid affecting those phenomena they study (Saunders et al., 2009).

The researcher has followed positivism research approach for the purpose of investigating the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technologies in Bangladesh.

Research approach

Research approach has been playing important roles to increase the validity of the research project (Cresswell, 2007). The most common research approaches are as follows-

Inductive and deductive: According to Burney (2008), inductive research approach is known as `bottom up’ approach that moves from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories and conclusion is likely based on premises. On the other hand, deductive research approach is known as `top-down’ approach that works from the more general to the more specific on particular thing under research investigation.

Qualitative and quantitative: Hughes (1997) has described that quantitative research approach is more scientific and objective in nature that focus on the research sampling and design to collect numerical data and thus allows statistical techniques for sophisticated analysis of the collected data. On contrast, qualitative research approach is where events can be understood adequately only if they are seen in context and the contexts of inquiry are not contrived as they are natural.

In this research project, the researcher has followed both quantitative and qualitative research approach to collect relevant data on the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Research designs and techniques

Research design is very crucial in any research project for the purpose of ensuring quality of the research. Research design mainly concern with the overall processes involved in data collection and thus complete research project with valid conclusions. The researcher has conducted telephone interview and postal survey for the purpose of collecting primary data from four major pharmaceutical firms, named Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta in Bangladesh.

1. Telephone interview: The researcher has conducted telephone interview with the management personnel of four major pharmaceutical firms in Bangladesh. Each interview was conducted with similar set of questionnaires and the length of each interview was minimum twenty five to thirty minutes. The researcher has followed and maintained all of the ethical issues and concerns, such as access to the organization, informed consent, confidentiality etc. during the telephone interview. Telephone interview was appropriate because the researcher has no chance to conduct face-to-face interview with the management personnel who are working in information technology department of the pharmaceutical firms in Bangladesh. However, there was great effort by the researcher to collect all relevant data and information from major four pharmaceutical firms in relation to the use of information technologies and its benefits within the business.   

2. Postal survey: The researcher has carried out postal survey to collect data from major pharmaceutical firms, including Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta in Bangladesh to identify the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technologies in Bangladesh. The researcher has carried out forty postal survey having similar questionnaires among employees within different pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. All of the questions have developed through the issues and concerns identified by review of literature as well as research aims and objectives. So, it can be said that postal survey was most effective to collect data on the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Research questionnaire

Research questionnaire contain research questions that used for the collection of primary data. Saris and Gallhofer (2007) have mentioned that research questionnaire outlines the important decisions that researcher need to make throughout the research process and provides the statistical knowledge and innovative tools that are essential when approaching these choices.

1. Questionnaire deign: The researcher has developed two different questionnaires, one for telephone interview and another for postal survey. There were more than twenty questions in each section. The researcher would like to mention following key questions of the telephone interview and postal survey as follows-

  • Is there any relationship between pharmaceutical business operations and management with information technologies in Bangladesh?
  • What are the common approaches in using information technologies and what are the main benefits of using information technologies in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh?
  • How information technologies are helping pharmaceutical business to achieve competitive advantage over the market competitors in Bangladesh?
  • What are the future business plans and policies to improve information technologies to be more efficient in supply chain management and thus achieve organizational goals and objectives?

2. Pilot study: According to Blessing and Chakrabarti (2009), the key aim of pilot study is to identify potential problems that may affect the quality and validity of the research activities. Pilot study involves some of the following tasks and activities in research project- data processing, analysis and drawing conclusions as well as requesting feedback from the participants to increase effectiveness and efficiency in research design and research questionnaire. The researcher has carried out pilot study of telephone interview and postal survey with peers that were very helpful to improve some questions and thus helped to collect most effective and appropriate data from the actual study in accordance with research aims and objectives.

Research sampling

Research sampling is the approach of selecting population for the research project. Sampling is the process of defining a group from larger population on which data is collected for the research project (Monsen and Horn, 2008). Research sampling has been playing significant roles to identify and analyse different views and opinions from different people about a specific area or subject under the research project. The researcher has used simple random sampling to select sample and to determine sample size for this research project. The researcher would like to mention that research sampling, such as sample selection and sample size for this research project can be discuss and explain as below-

1. Sample selection: Sample selection is an important task for the researcher to collect relevant data and information on research area. The quality and validity of research findings depends on the sample selection. For the telephone interview, the researcher has select management personnel of four major pharmaceutical firms, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta, especially who are working with information technologies within the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. For the postal survey, the researcher has select general employees within four major pharmaceutical firms as well as other different pharmaceutical firms in Bangladesh who are involve in the use of information technologies. So, the researcher would like to opine that sample selection was appropriate in relation to explore the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

2. Sample size: Sample size reflects the number of respondents or interviewees from whom the researcher has collect data and information on particular subject under research project. The researcher has conducted eight telephone interviewees with management personnel of four major pharmaceutical businesses, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta. The postal survey has been carried out among forty general employees of four major pharmaceutical firms as well as other pharmaceutical firms in Bangladesh. Thus, it can be said that sample size was effective and appropriate to collect relevant data on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

 Data analysis tools and techniques

According to Hamid and Iman (2012), data analysis is the systematic process of utilizing data to address research questions as well as to put together facts and figures to solve research problems. So, it is clear that there should be proper and appropriate tools and techniques to analyse data and thus make valid research report. Hamid and Iman (2012) have mentioned that data can be of main four categories- narrative, descriptive, statistical and audio-optical etc. The tools and technique varies depending on the category of data. They have mentioned following tools and techniques to analyse data in most effectively and efficiently-

  • Statistical methods, that mainly concern with descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
  • Descriptive methods that describes the qualitative data.

The researcher has collected both qualitative and quantitative data through telephone interview and postal survey from major four, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta and other pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. So, both statistics and descriptive methods have been used for the purpose of analysing data and thus to make valid conclusions on the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Data presentation techniques

Data presentation is an important part of a research project (Alabi, 2002). He has mentioned that the researcher can use various techniques to present data. Some of the most common and vital techniques for data presentation are as follows-

  1. Tabulation- the presentation of data in tabular form that provide distinct pattern of data in an attractive form.
  2. Diagrammatic presentation- data can be present through diagrams, such as pictogram, pie chart, bar chart, histogram, and line graph etc. to create better understanding of the data through simplest and easiest ways by the reader.

In this research project, both tabulation and diagrammatic techniques have been used for the purpose of presenting both qualitative and quantitative data collected through telephone interview and postal survey.

Conclusion

Research methodology has significant influence on data collection as well as data analysis and presentation through developing appropriate research design, research questionnaire and research sampling.

Positivism research philosophy has been followed in this research project. Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches are used for this research project. The researcher has used two common research methods, such as telephone interview and postal survey to collect data. Data has been analysed through statistical and descriptive methods. Both tabulation and diagrammatic approach have been used to present analysed data.

In conclusion, the author would like to opine that the researcher was able to collect relevant and appropriate data, may be having some limitations in relation to the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Chapter 4: Data Presentation and Analysis

Introduction

Data presentation, also known as research findings and their analysis is considered as one of the most important parts of a research. This chapter has been designated in such a way that has discussed and explained data collected by the researcher. The researcher has collected data from different pharmaceutical businesses, including four major pharmaceutical businesses, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta through using two most common and effective research methods, such as telephone interview and postal survey. The researcher has got helped from one of his friend who is living in Bangladesh in relation to arrange interview as well as sending and collecting all postal surveys.

Despite of having some limitations in collecting data from different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh, the researcher has tried to reduce and minimise some limitations to collect all relevant data on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. The researcher has divided this chapter into two parts- one for data presentation and analysis from telephone interview and another for data presentation and analysis from postal survey.

Data analysis from telephone interview

The telephone interview was conducted among eight management personnel of four major pharmaceutical businesses, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta pharmaceuticals Ltd in Bangladesh. The interviews were conducted in most communicative approach to collect all relevant data and information in respect to using IT within the company to increase employee and organizational performance. The researcher would like to represent telephone interview results and their as follows-

1. Demographic profiles of the interviewees (Qs-2 to 5)

The researcher would like to represent the demographic profiles of the interviewees as follows-

Table: 4.2.1. Demographic profiles of the interviewees

Gender Age band Position Duration of employment (Year)
Interviewee One Male 40-49 IT Assistant 4-6
Interviewee Two Male 50-above General Manager 10-above
Interviewee Three Female 30-39 IT Assistant 1-3
Interviewee Four Male 40-49 Operations Manager 7-9
Interviewee Five Male 40-49 IT Manager 7-9
Interviewee Sixth Female 30-39 IT Assistant 4-6
Interviewee Seventh Female 40-49 IT Manager 7-9
Interviewee Eighth Male 40-49 Supply chain manager 7-9

Source: Author’s interview data

Based from the demographic profiles of the interviewees, it can be noted that all of the interviewees have been working for the company for several years in the management of the business, especially general management, IT management, operations management and supply chain management etc. Thus, it can be noted that interviewees were relevant person for the purpose of investigating the use of IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

2. Overall objectives of the company (Qs-6)

Based on the interview results, the author would like to summarize the overall objectives of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh as below-

  1. To manufacture and produce quality medicines and drugs;
  2. To provide better services to the customers in most easiest and simplest ways compare to other competitors in the market;
  3. To ensure better uses of IT in different aspects of the business operations and management;
  4. To build strong relationships with customers and suppliers as well as foreign importers through using IT; and
  5. To provide quality health services to the domestic customers and thus achieve organizational goals and objectives.

So, the researcher would like to opine that there is close link between pharmaceutical business and the use of IT in relation to achieve competitive advantage and thus achieve organizational goals and objectives.

3. Operating and managing business in competitive market in Bangladesh (Qs-7, 8, 10 and 11)

In Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business is growing from both domestic and foreign companies. The interview results shows that different company has been operating and managing business in competitive market in Bangladesh in different ways and different manner. For example, the interviewee of Square pharmaceuticals Ltd has mentioned that the company has been using IT in its operations department. The IT department of the company has been providing different benefits to ensure effective supply chain management, better communication with employees, effective communication with customers and suppliers. Another example shows that the interviewee of Beximco pharmaceuticals Ltd has mentioned that the company has planning to use IT different department of the business for the purpose of creating competitive edge of the business in the market. So, IT is becoming vital concern for the operations and management of the Beximco pharmaceuticals Ltd. In similar way, rest of the interviewees have mentioned that IT is considering as prime concern and part to operate and manage the business in competitive market in Bangladesh.

Thus, in accordance with interview results, the researcher would like to say that most of pharmaceutical businesses, including four major pharmaceuticals, such as Sqaure, Beximco, Acme and Incepta etc. have been using IT in different ways to compete in the markets and thus to ensure better operation and management of the business in Bangladesh.

 4. Common uses of IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs-9)

In Bangladesh, Information Technology is becoming key part to operate and manage a business. IT has been using by different businesses, including pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh for different perspective. In respect to interview results, the researcher would like to mention following common uses of IT in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh-

Table: 4.2.2. Common uses of IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh

Interviewee Common uses of IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh
Interviewee One i. To communicate with different departments within the company; andii. To ensure effective supply chain management within the company.
Interviewee Two i. To manufacture or produce medicines and drugs through the use of IT; andii. To share information with different business partners.
Interviewee Three In supply chain management, the use of IT is very common within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh; particularly this company has been using IT to ensure effective and appropriate supply chain management.
Interviewee Four IT is being considering as main tools to cope with changes in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.
Interviewee Fifth IT is using for the purpose of managing information systems as well as to manage logistics of the company.
Interviewee Sixth i. IT is using for developing supporting system among head office, factories, and the distribution centres etc.; andii. The operations department is linked with corporate office through IT.
Interviewee Seventh i. The IT department is responsible for the automation of the company; andii. The company has been using modern technologies that have significant roles to provide competitiveness in the markets.
Interviewee Eighth IT is using by the company for different purposes, including automated buying process, inventory management, sales management etc.

Source: Author’s interview data

 5. Role of IT in business management, such as supply chain, operations, and human resources within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs-12 to15)

Based on the interview results, it is clear that IT is being using by different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh for different perspective. However, IT has been using mainly into three different perspectives, such as supply chain management, operations management and human resource management within the company. For example, the interviewee of Acme pharmaceuticals Ltd has mentioned that the company is using IT for operations management within the company. The most common uses of IT include- automated buying process and inventory management.  Another example shows that the interviewee of Square pharmaceuticals Ltd has mentioned that the company has been using IT for developing system supports within different departments of the company.

The interviewee of Beximco pharmaceuticals Ltd has stated that IT has been using for the automation of the business and link between head office and factory that mainly focus on the management of human resources within the company. In Similar ways, other interviewees have described that IT is becoming vital part in relation business management within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. Thus, the researcher would like to conclude that IT has several roles, including effective supply chain management, operations management and human resources management of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

6. Future plans and policies to improve IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs-16)

Based on the interview results, the researcher would like to represent future plans and policies of different pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh as follows-

Table: 4.2.3. Future plans and policies to improve IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh

Name of pharmaceutical business Future plans and policies to improve IT
Square pharmaceuticals Ltd To improve the use of SAP for production related activities within the company; andTo develop software for database and monitoring of activities within the company.
Beximco pharmaceuticals Ltd To develop access control by using IT to monitor operation systems within the company.
The Acme Laboratories Ltd To continue the use of IT for virtual private networks that connects all departments of the company.
Incepta pharmaceuticals Ltd To continue the use of SAP software that provides all information needed about the customers and the products for market research of the company.

Source: Author’s interview data

7. Recommendation on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh (Qs-17)   

The researcher would like to summarize the recommendations provided by the interviewees in relation to the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh as follows-

  1. In Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business is growing with the help of IT;
  2. IT has significant roles to operate and manage pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh;
  3. The most common uses of IT include- operations management, supply chain management, marketing information system management, human resources management etc. within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh; and
  4. The pharmaceutical business should develop and improve its information technologies for the purpose of building strong relationships with customers, employees, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders of the company.

Finally, the researcher would like to say that there is interconnected and interlinked relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Data presentation and analysis from postal survey

The postal survey has been carried out among forty respondents who have interest within different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh. The researcher has sent all relevant questions on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh to different people and among them some are employees, customers, general public and other people who are involved within pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh. The researcher would like to discuss and explain data and their analysis from postal survey as follows-

1. Respondents’ demographic profiles (Qs-2, 3 and 4)

The researcher would like to represent the demographic profiles of the respondents of postal survey as follows-

Table: 4.3.1. Demographic profiles of the respondents in postal survey

Number of respondent Percentage (%)
Gender: Male 27 67.5
Gender: Female 13 32.5
Relation as: Employee 19 47.5
Relation as: Customer 8 20
Relation as: General public 8 20
Relation as: Others 5 12.5

Source: Author’s survey data

The survey data shows that majority of the respondents were male, such as 67.5% and rest of the respondents were female, such as 32.5%. The demographic profiles of the respondents also show that nearly half of the respondents, such as 47.5% have relation with the company as employee, followed by 20% as customer and other 20% as general public. So, it is clear that the respondents were appropriate person to get data in respect to the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

2. Common benefits and facilities to respondents from different pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs-5)

The survey results show that most of the respondents are getting following benefits and services from different pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh-

  • Getting medicines and drugs for health care and other purposes;
  • Getting help from the pharmaceutical business in relation to identify causes of different diseases and their proper medicines and drugs;
  • In some cases, getting help for different community services; and
  • Getting help for the children and elderly people within the country.

3. Interdependence and link between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh (Qs-6)

Based on the survey results, it is clear that there is interdependence and link between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. The majority, such as 87.5% of the respondents have mentioned that there is vital interdependence and link between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. So, it can be said that IT has been providing different benefits and services to pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

4. Using IT in most effectively and appropriately in its operations and management by pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs-7)

IT has been using by different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh for the purpose of ensuring better operations and management of the business in competitive markets. The survey results show that different respondents have mentioned that different pharmaceutical businesses have been using IT in effectively and appropriately in its operations and management of the business. Based on the survey results, it is clear that Square pharmaceuticals Ltd (e.g. 35% of respondent), followed by the Acme Laboratories Ltd (e.g. 20% of respondent) has been using IT in most effectively and appropriately in its operation and management compare to other pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh. However, some other pharmaceutical businesses are using IT in its operation and management approach of the business.

5. Level of satisfaction on the uses of IT by pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs-8)

In relation to the level of satisfaction on the use of IT by pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. The survey results show that nearly half, such as 47.5% of the respondents have mentioned that they are highly dissatisfied with the use of IT by pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. About 20% of respondents are dissatisfied in this case. On the other hand, only 15% respondents are satisfied and 10% respondents are highly satisfied with the use of IT by pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. Thus, it can be noted that the pharmaceutical businesses have to improve its IT for the purpose of increasing employee, customer and general public satisfaction and thus to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

6. Level of satisfaction on the use of IT in business management, such as supply chain, operations and human resources within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh (Qs- 9 to 11)

The researcher would like to represent survey results in the level of satisfaction on the use of IT in business management within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. The survey results depict that similar percentage of respondents, such as 35% respondents are satisfied and dissatisfied in respect to the use of IT in business management, including supply chain, operations management, and human resource management within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. On contrast, 15% of respondents have mentioned that they highly dissatisfied and 10% of respondents have mentioned that they are highly satisfied in case of using IT in business management by pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. So, it is clear that there is mixed conception among the employees, customers, general public and other people about the use of IT in business management within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

7. Growth of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh with the help of IT (Qs-12)

The survey data shows that more than half, such as 55% of the respondents have agreed that in Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business is growing with the help of IT. While, another major portion, such as 35% of the respondents strongly agreed in this case. On the other hand, only small portion, such as 7.5% of the respondents are disagreed, with having 2.5% neutral opinion in respect to the growth of pharmaceutical business with the help of IT in Bangladesh. Thus, it can be noted that pharmaceutical business has been manufacturing and producing medicines and drugs with effective and appropriate management of business through using information technologies in different departments within the organization.

8. Demands and expectations of general people towards pharmaceutical business in relation to use of IT in Bangladesh (Qs-13)

Based on the survey results, it is clear that different people have different types of demands and expectations towards pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. For example, some people demanding effective communication system with customers by the company, while others are expecting various research activities to explore causes and medicines for various diseases. Based on the survey results, the researcher would like to mention that majority, such as 45% of the respondents have mentioned that they are demanding and expecting quality medicines and drugs from different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh. The second highest percentage, such as 25% of the respondents has cited that better communications with customers by the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh is another prime concern for the business. The third highest percentage, such as 17.5% of the respondents has said that availability of products is another vital issue for the pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. So, the researcher would like to say that pharmaceutical business has to perform different tasks and activities for the purpose of customer and public satisfaction where there is need for use of IT.

9. Comments and suggestions on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh (Qs- 15 to 16)    

The survey was carried out among employees, customers and general people and in accordance with the survey results; it is clear that pharmaceutical business is growing with the help of IT in Bangladesh. The researcher would like to summarise the comments and suggestions on the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh as follows-

  • Some of the pharmaceutical business needs to improve its IT department for building connection with different stakeholders;
  • The business should focus on the use of IT to build strong relationships with employees and customers to provide quality products and services to the customers;
  • The business should develop communication system through using IT with employees within the organization as well as other people, such as suppliers, partners, dealers, and customers etc.; and
  • The business should improve its IT to ensure appropriate management of business, especially in the field of operations management, supply chain management, and human resources management.

 Conclusion

The primary research findings and their analysis have discussed and explained in this chapter. Based on the results, it can be noted that in Bangladesh pharmaceutical business has been growing and improving with the help of IT for the purpose of meeting local demands and thus export to foreign countries. The researcher has carried out postal survey and telephone interview in relation to collect primary data and these two methods were effective and appropriate collect all relevant data from different pharmaceutical businesses, including four major businesses, such as Square, Beximco, Acme and Incepta pharmaceuticals Ltd. In conclusion, the author would like to opine that in Bangladesh pharmaceutical business and information technology is interdependent and interconnected to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

Chapter 5: Conclusions and Recommendations

Introduction

This chapter is the final chapter of this research report. This chapter has been designated to elaborate some of the key findings, both primary and secondary and thus provides valid and constructive conclusions and recommendations in accordance with research aims and objectives. The primary data has been collected through interview and survey from different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh. The researcher has review relevant literatures for the purpose of exploring existing issues, concerns and practices on pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. So, it can be said that both primary and secondary findings are effective and appropriate to make valid conclusions and recommendations on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Findings from review of literature

The researcher has reviewed literatures from different sources, such as books, articles, journals, publications and related websites. Through reviewing the literatures, the researcher has identified different issues and concerns on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. So, the summary of findings from review of literature can be represent as follows-

i. Bangladesh has been improving its economic conditions with the help of different business sectors, especially with the help of pharmaceutical business in relation to meet local demands and thus exports to different foreign countries (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2012).

ii. In Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business is one of the highest priority business and it has been creating self-sufficiency in meeting local demands of medicines and drugs, for example, in Bangladesh, there is 230 different pharmaceutical businesses that have producing around 97% of the total demand (UK Trade & Investment, 2010).

iii. After the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, the country has made significant growth in pharmaceutical business with the help of skills and knowledge of the professionals as well as innovative ideas of the people, where IT has been playing vital roles (Habib and Alam, 2011).

iv. In Bangladesh, domestic pharmaceutical businesses have larger market shares, such as 80% and remain 20% is sharing by different multinational pharmaceutical companies. Among top ten pharmaceutical businesses, seven are domestic pharmaceutical company (UK Trade & Investment, 2010). 

v. In Bangladesh, IT has been growing with the help of both government and private sectors during the last decade. There is more use of internet, expansion of telecommunications and development of different software in Bangladesh due to development and improvement in IT (Raihan and Habib, 2008).

vi. In Bangladesh, the use of IT in pharmaceutical business has been playing significant roles, including automation or automatic control in operations and management, manufacturing process run by software, preparation of financial reports, and analysis of financial and thus business performance etc. (Bagazonzya et al., 2010).

vii. Supply chain management is one of the key concerns in pharmaceutical business and the use of IT can ensure better integration and coordination among different processes in supply chain management (Uddin, 2005).

 Summary of findings from primary data

The researcher has conducted interview and carried out survey for the purpose of collecting primary data on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh. The summary of the findings from primary data can be shown as follows-

i. Majority of interviewees have mentioned that IT has been playing vital roles to ensure better operations and management of pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

ii. The most common uses of IT in pharmaceutical business include- automatic manufacturing process, link between head office and factory, inventory management, sales management etc.

iii. Majority of the interviewees have said that pharmaceutical businesses are getting several benefits, such as better operations, effective communication, and effective and appropriate supply chain management etc. with the use of IT.

iv. Based on the interview results, it is clear that only few pharmaceutical businesses are using IT into different perspective, so there should be proper initiatives and policies to improve IT, such as software development, automation in process, online control and monitoring within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

v. The survey data shows that 87% of the respondents have mentioned that there is great interdependence and interlinked between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

vi. The survey results show that in Bangladesh different pharmaceutical businesses are using IT for different perspective. Among them Square pharmaceuticals Ltd has been using IT in most effective and appropriately for the purpose of supply chain management, operations management and thus overall business management.

vii. The level of satisfaction with the use of IT in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh is not satisfactory. For example, nearly half, such as 47.5% of the respondents are highly dissatisfied and 20% of the respondents are dissatisfied with the overall use of IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.

viii. In Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business has been growing with the help of IT. For example, 55% of the respondents are agreed and 35% of the respondents are strongly agreed that pharmaceutical business has been growing and improving through using IT into its different departments of the organization.

Conclusions upon research  

Based on the identified issues and concerns from primary and secondary research, it is clear that in Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business has been growing and improving with the use of IT for last few decades. In Bangladesh, pharmaceutical businesses are producing different medicines and drugs as well as developing effective operations and management of the business that are capable of meeting around 97% of the total demand. In case this, IT has been playing important roles in different aspects of the business, including- supply chain management, operations process, corporate communication, human resources management, relationships management with stakeholders and so on.

Thus, the researcher would like to opine that in Bangladesh, pharmaceutical businesses are growing and improving because of improvement and development in IT within the countries and it reflects that there is close link between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

Recommendations

In this section, the researcher has provided some recommendations both in respect to academic and organizational perspective. The author would like to represent recommendations as follows-

A. Recommendations on academic perspective: The researcher would like to list following recommendations on academic perspective-

  • There is some gaps in knowledge in relation to pharmaceutical business and IT in Bangladesh that should be fulfil by conducting different researches by different academic institutions.
  • There are no well-established theories and practices into the existing literatures in respect to the roles of IT in business management of the pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh. So, some academic institution can conduct research to develop appropriate theories and practices on the roles of IT in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh.
  • Both pharmaceutical business and information technology is considering as fastest growing sector in Bangladesh, so there is great opportunities to develop and establish academic theory on the relationships between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh.

B. Recommendations on organizational perspective: The researcher would like to list following recommendations on organizational perspective-

  • Based on the interview and survey results, it is clear that in Bangladesh, pharmaceutical business and information technology is becoming vital part for the economic development of the country. So, different pharmaceutical businesses have to take more initiatives to ensure better uses of IT to increase organizational performance to meet local demand and thus to export medicines and drugs to foreign countries.
  • Only few pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh have been using IT for different purposes. However, the interview and survey results shows that the use of IT in pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh is very important and playing vital roles to provide quality medicines and drugs as well as better relations with different stakeholders. Thus, there should be more research activities by different pharmaceutical business to explore and analyse the roles of IT in business management of pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh.
  • The interview and survey results show that the use of IT within Square pharmaceuticals Ltd, a leading business in Bangladesh is helping to ensure effective supply chain management and thus helping to achieve competitive advantage in the markets. In similar way, the use of IT within Beximco pharmaceuticals Ltd, a second largest business in Bangladesh is providing modern technologies to develop automation in production process and communication between head office and factory. So, it is clear that pharmaceutical business has to carry out research on the role of IT in different aspects of the business to achieve competitive advantage and thus to achieve organizational goals and objectives.  

Future scope and opportunity of the study

This research report has explored many new things on the relationship between pharmaceutical business and information technology in Bangladesh that have value for future and further research. For example, from the review of literatures, the researcher has identified that IT has been playing significant roles in managing supply chain within pharmaceutical business. So, the investigation and analysis of the roles of IT in supply chain management, either for pharmaceutical business or other business can be considered as future and further research project. On the other hand, from the primary research findings, the researcher has identified that some pharmaceutical businesses, such as Sqaure, Beximco, and Acme etc. have been using IT for automation in production process and communication between corporate office and factory. Thus, the approach and its importance of automated production process through using IT can be termed as future and further research for pharmaceutical business as well as other business in Bangladesh.

In similar ways, the researcher has identified and explored different issues and concerns from the review of literatures and primary research findings that have significant values for future and further study both from academic and organizational point of views.

Limitations of the study

The researcher has faced some problems and challenges during the completion of this research project and thus to prepare the standard research report. Some of the most common limitations are as follows-

  1. Due to lack of time and financial resources, the researcher has reviewed limited literatures, such as books, articles, journals and publications. So, lack of available time and financial resources were vital limitation of the study.
  2. The approach of interview and survey i.e. telephone interview and postal survey may not effective and appropriate to collect all relevant data from different pharmaceutical businesses in Bangladesh.
  3. The number of sample in telephone interview and postal survey were very small to explore and analyse the use of IT within pharmaceutical business in Bangladesh. So, limited number of sample was another most common limitation of this study.
  4. The concern of ethical issues and access to the organization has influence on the completion of research and the preparation of research report. So, the ethical issues, such as confidentiality, privacy, and access to the organization etc. have limited the overall study.

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