Comprehensive Analysis on: Business Strategy of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited
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Square Pharmaceuticals Limited is the largest pharmaceutical company in Bangladesh and it has
been continuously in the 1st position among all national and multinational companies since
1985. It was established in 1958 and converted into a public limited company in 1991. The sales
turnover of SPL was more than Taka 13.78 Billion BDT (US $ 172.25 million) with about 19.18%
market share (Till December 2013) having a growth rate of about 23.54%.
Square Pharmaceutical Ltd now has one of the largest and competent sales force and large
distribution network of its own, operated from 18 different locations throughout the country. A
most dynamic skilled and dedicated marketing team comprising of pharmacists and doctors are
at the core of the marketing operation. These highly skilled professionals play a crucial role in
providing the necessary strategic guideline for the promotion of its product.
Square Pharmaceuticals Limited has extended its range of services towards the highway
of global market. It pioneered exports of medicines from Bangladesh in 1987 and has been
exporting antibiotics and other pharmaceutical products. This extension in business and
services has manifested the credibility of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited.
Corporate Brief of Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd:
Year of Establishment (Initially as a Partnership) : 1958
Incorporated as a Private Limited Company : 1964
Technical Collaboration Agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals of Belgium
(A subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson International Ltd.)
Technical Collaboration Agreement with F.Hoffman-La Roche and Co. Ltd. : 1982
Converted into Public Limited Company : 1991
Initially Public Offering (IPO) of shares of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. : 1994
Stock Exchange Listing (Dhaka and Chittagong) : 1995
Agreement with M/s. Bovis Tanvec Ltd. of UK for implementation of Dhaka
Awarded ISO-9001 Certificate : 1998
SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Dhaka Unit gets the UK MHRA approval : 2007
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Awarded TGA Certificate : 2012
Authorized Capital : Tk. 10,000
Paid-up Capital : Tk. 4,820
Number of Employees : 5,868
Subsidiary Company : Square
The pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh is one of the most developed high-tech sectors
within the country's economy. There are about 231 licensed allopathic drug-manufacturing
units in the country, out of which only 210 were in active production; others either closed down
on their own or were suspended by the licensing authority for drugs due to non-compliance
to good manufacturing practices or drug laws. The industry manufactures about 5,600 brands
of medications in different dosage forms. There are, however, 1,495 wholesale drug license
holders and about 37,700 retail drug license holders in Bangladesh. After the promulgation of
the Drugs (Control) Ordinance, 1982, the development of this sector was accelerated. The
professional knowledge, thoughts and innovative ideas of the pharmaceutical professionals
working in this sector are the key factors for this development. Due to recent development of
this sector, the industry is exporting medicines to global markets, including the European
market. This sector is also providing 97% of the total medicinal requirement of the local market.
Some of the companies produce insulin, hormones, and anticancer drugs, which were not
previously produced in Bangladesh. Leading pharmaceutical companies are expanding their
business with the aim to expand into the export market. Recently, a few new industries have
been established with high-tech equipment and professionals to enhance the strength of this
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Brief of the Industry:
Inception: Around 1950
No of Companies: 231
Market Size: 76.5 Billion BDT
Market Growth: 24.30 %
(after Garments) in Industry Sector
Demand Covers: 97% of Domestic Market
No. Of Medicine Brand: 5600
Market Share: Domestic 80% and MNC 20%
Exports: 72 Countries
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To analyze the business strategy of Square Pharmaceuticals Limited
• To identify the generic business model they follow
• To find out the strategic intent of Square
• To identify the dominant trait of the industry
• To find out the drivers of change of industry
• To identify the external environment of Square Pharmaceutical
• To identify the internal environment of Square Pharmaceutical
• To analyze the balanced scorecard of the company
To conduct this study, primary data were collected by informal interview of corporate
professionals who are working in different pharmaceutical industry. We also tried to contact
with some pharmacy, doctors and drugstore owners regarding the issue.
Source of secondary data are websites, printed material, articles, catalogs and online social
media of various company. Annual reports of Square Pharmaceutical Limited were also used.
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The study is focused on the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh. This study will explain the
aspects and strategies of pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh as well as a leading
pharmaceutical company. So it would be very useful for different users.
The purposes this study will serve such as-
• Provide a brief idea about market structure to the onlooker about pharmaceutical
• Provide a cross-sectional view of market situation of current trend
• Help a new entrant in this business to understand the market trend
• Will provide “Food for Thought” to new researchers like us
Basically anyone studying the report will get firsthand information about square
pharmaceutical ltd and the whole pharmaceutical industry which he can use in developing
various products available and soon to come in near future.
During the preparation of this report we had to face a few problems. These disrupted the
preparation of the report. They are discussed below.
• Time Constraint
• The websites were are less organized regarding our topic
• There was huge amount of data to sort out and managing those data in a proper
manner required quite a lot time
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Square Pharmaceuticals Limited: The
Vision Mission and Objectives:
“We view business as a means to the material and social wellbeing of the investors, employees
and the society at large, leading to accretion of wealth through financial and moral gains as a
part of the process of the human civilization.”
“Our Mission is to produce and provide quality and innovative healthcare relief for people,
maintain stringently ethical standard in business operation also ensuring benefit to the
shareholders, stakeholders and the society at large.”
“Our objectives are to conduct transparent business operation based on market mechanism
within the legal and social framework with aims to attain the mission reflected by our vision.”
Basic Generic Strategy
Square pharmaceutical Ltd being the market leader of pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh
follows a unique set of strategies. They did not confine themselves into only one strategy
follower; rather they focused on different generic strategy for different category of product. So
they kind of diversified their portfolio among different segments of the market.
Cost leadership strategies:
We found that square pharmaceuticals follows cost leadership strategies for a specific set of
product category. Because cost leadership strategy is an integrated set of actions taken to
produce goods or services with features that are acceptable to customer at the lowest cost,
relative to that of competitors. Square using the cost leadership strategy to sell no-frills,
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standardized products to the industry’s most typical customers. Square’s products have
competitive levels of differentiation in term of features that they create value for customers.
Indeed emphasizing cost reductions while ignoring competitive levels of differentiation is
ineffective. Square pharmaceutical also carefully examines all support activities to find
additional sources of potential cost reductions. Developing new systems for finding the
optimal combination of low cost and acceptable quality in the raw materials required to
produce the drugs.
Square pharmaceutical limited also focuses on market niche, concentrating competitively on
a specific market segment. These types of products are usually charged with premium price
and only a few numbers of companies produces or imports those drugs. In this regard
square pharmaceuticals achieved a good reputation in medicine sector.
SPL, with its progressive business outlook, believes and practices corporate work culture with a
classic blend of efficiency and equity. SPL believes in company growth by increasing efficiency
level of employees and for that offering excellent environment and support for skill and
knowledge upgradation. SPL’s Business Motivation is ‘Being Good by Doing Well’ and to
conduct transparent business operations based on market mechanism within the legal, ethical
& social framework with aims to attain the mission reflected by the company’s vision. It values
productivity as the spontaneous contribution of Human Resources.
Strategic Human Resource Development Programs are the energy sources for SQUARE HR for
running towards the zenith of success. Flow of clear and specific information and justification of
queries play the vital role to ensure the market reputation of SQUARE as the most trusted and
transparent company and it enriches the motivation level of HR who are the real contributors
and owners of his / her own jobs. At SPL, HRD symbolizes the unique blending of
professionalism as well as sharing the stress and success equally like a family where every
member has deep concern, feelings and pride for their own company SPL. HR ensures the
strong supporting role to develop & implement HR policy guidelines for ensuring uninterrupted
operation and spontaneous participation to achieve organizational objective as well as
fulfillment of employee needs. HR is maintaining an effective way to deal with labor union and
still no unrest has been recorded as dispute maintaining a progressive labor policy. SPL follows
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laws and encourage work environment that welcomes diversity and also follow non-
discrimination & fair treatment policy both in the recruitment & selection process and
performance management system Personnel working here are taking care of SPL as if it is their
own family. Employee-employer relation is cordial and supporting always. SPL does not allow
any female employees during night shift operations & strictly prohibits any form of forced
labor. It actively pursues the policy of No child labor in SPL.
Transparency & business ethics is the core value of SPL and it is strictly followed at every step of
the business processes. Every business in SPL is modeled in a way that enables the
management to ensure highest degree of both financial and behavioral accountability. SQUARE
pursues Zero Tolerance policy against all kinds of corruption. SPL's activity goes well beyond the
sphere of business. As socially conscious and responsible corporate body SQUARE is committed
to the improvement of the society as a whole.
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SPL has presently been offering its products to its market segment with the value proposition:
‘Utmost quality, excellent efficacy’
Value creation activity includes:
Discovery Development Register Manufacture Marketing & Sales
SPL’s value creation
The balanced scorecard for Square Pharmaceuticals Limited is as follows.
The balanced scorecard for Square Pharmaceuticals Limited is as follows.
•Protection of shareholder's capital
•Accretion of wealth through financial and moral gains
•Ensure highest return on investment of shareholders.
•Redemption of customer claim in time
•Avoid any form of corruptive delaings, unethical and
•Providing quality healthcare relief for people
•Practice of good-governace.
•Maintaining workplace equality.
•Providing best compensation to all the employees
•Strive for the achievement of millennium development
goals for the human civilization
•Ensure shareholder’s growth of assets
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Accretion of wealth through financial and moral gains
Ensure highest return on investment of shareholders.
Avoid any form of corruptive delaings, unethical and
Providing quality healthcare relief for people
Providing best compensation to all the employees
Strive for the achievement of millennium development
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The strength of Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. lies in its diversified products and dosage forms.
Square has been producing solid products like tablets and capsules and liquid products like
syrup, suspension and solution, as well as semisolid products like cream and ointment. It is the
pioneer company to manufacture and market nasal sprays, inhalation aerosols and
suppositories in Bangladesh. Its strengths can be analyzed as under.
• SPL has skilled scientists/technicians/management personnel at affordable cost leading
to low cost of innovation/ manufacturing/expenditure to run cGMP(current Good
Manufacturing Practice) compliance facilities and high quality documentation and
• SPL has well developed chemistry, R and D and manufacturing infrastructure with
proven track record in advanced chemistry capabilities, design of high tech
manufacturing facilities and regulatory compliance.
• The healthy domestic market with rising per capita expenditure is another significant
strength enabling achievement of economies of scale. Square also has a strong
marketing and distribution network.
• It has Company Strength and product strength, Company strengths effects positively on
the product, and products strength also effects positively on the Company.
• Square has highly skilled sales forces and very efficient and wide distribution channels.
• Square ranked and held the First position in Pharmaceuticals Industry since 1985, which
• Being in the top for this long time resulted in a very positive impression for all
the products in the minds of the doctors and patients already, it occupies a good
position it theirminds.
• The built in positive impression on our products which is in the minds of the doctors
and patients helps Square Pharmaceutical to get a very good response from the market
for any product they introduce in the market.
• Square has the number of sales force of the company, their capability, Training and
selling skills are in better condition and position than any other company in the industry.
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• Square follows very transparent marketing activities; there is no misleading or fraud,
that why it enjoys a good reputation in the market.
• Square maintains high quality standards for its products
• In production of Square’s Omeprazole Injection and DMP quality issues are followed and
The weakness of the Square is the analysis of the internal industry components that are not
providing significant added value or are in need of improvement. The internal components can
include physical resources, human capital or features the company can control. For example,
the SPL’s weaknesses could include high-risk business modeling, disengaged Board of Directors,
dated medical equipment, poor branding, low staff morale or diseconomies of scale. More
weakness given below:
• Square has introduced some Injections like Omerprezol late in the market
• Those Injection has introduced already by Incepta and popular before Square
• Square has lost the opportunity to be the first introducer of various products but they
couldn’t capitalized the benefits of it
• Square needs to consider the loss of late introduction and work on market considering
• Low investments in innovative R&D continue to be a major weakness of Square
• Square lacks the ability to compete with MNCs for New Drug Discovery, research and
commercialization of molecules on a worldwide basis due to lack of resources.
• Strong linkages between industry and academia which are essential for growth of the
• Rapidly increasing costs of skilled manpower such as scientists/ regulatory
compliance personnel / pharmaceutical lawyers/ international business development
personnel is pushing up the cost of innovation.
• Sales and marketing knowledge is inadequate due to lack of understanding
of international Pharmaceutical marketing/pricing practices and market environment in
• Inadequate manufacturing practices
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The opportunity of the Square is the analysis of the external industry components that provide
a chance for the company to grow in some capacity or gain a competitive edge. The external
components should be environmental factors or aspects outside the company’s control, yet
reflective of the business marketplace. It can be analyzed as under.
• In the market, the number of Antiulcer patients is increasing, when the number of
patients increases the possibility of a good return from the required drug increases.
• Incredible export potential
• New innovative therapeutic products
• Drug delivery system management
• Income is increasing day by day
• Clinical trials and research
• Due to the cost advantage in contract manufacturing & Research multi-national
companies find it compelling to shift their production bases to countries offering such
• Licensing deals with MNCs for NCEs (New Chemical Entities) and NDDS (New Drug
Delivery Systems) offer new opportunities for Square
• Marketing alliances for MNC products in domestic and international market is
another emerging opportunity
• There is a possibility of greater returns from other countries of the world by exporting
The threat of the pharmaceutical industry is the analysis of the external industry components
that could create an opportunity for the SPL to decline, atrophy or lose some competitive edge.
The external components should be environmental factors or aspects outside the industry’s
control, yet reflective of the business marketplace. For example, the pharmaceutical industry’s
threats could include increased government regulation, a declining economy, increasing
research and development (R&D) costs or a decrease in the global population. The threats of
Square Pharmaceutical Ltd are discussed below.
• R&D efforts of Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies are hampered by lack of enabling
• Export effort is hampered by procedural hurdles in Bangladesh as well as non-tariff
barriers imposed abroad
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• Lowering of tariff protection has increased competition in domestic markets resulting in
erosion of profitability
• Mergers and acquisitions by other companies may completely change condition of
the pharmaceutical market
• Small number of discoveries
• Competition from MNCs
• Transformation of process patent to product patent (TRIPS)
• Outdated Sales and marketing methods
• Limited knowledge and experience base.
• Pricing and reimbursement level could restrict use
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The macro environment tends to have a long term impact and requires extensive research.
PESTEL analysis is one of the major analytical tools to find out the impact of politics, society,
economic system, technology, environment and legal issues. For the study purpose we have
conducted a PESTEL analysis on the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh. The facts and
findings are discussed below.
• Political Instability and events like Hartal, Strikes etc hugely effects on the
pharmaceutical industry as these hampers the supply chain and sales
• Export-Import policy of government changes with the change of political power. This
has a huge impact on the pharmaceutical industry
• Tax and Tariff policy hugely affects the cost and pricing strategy. For Bangladesh the tax
for pharmaceutical product is about 27.5% which is quite high. So these high tax and
tariff hugely affects on pricing
• Growing political focus and pressure on healthcare and healthcare savings on annual
budget affects hugely on the pricing strategy of medicines
• Affiliation of giant market players with political party/entity also affect the market
• High GDP growth of about 6.2% has a huge impact on the pharmaceutical industry of
developing countries like Bangladesh
• In Bangladesh the unemployment Rate is quite low (about 4.5%) compared to our
neighboring countries like India and Pakistan (more than 7%). So these level of
employment has a huge impact on the industry
• Exchange rates of foreign currency also has a huge impact on the industry
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• Bangladesh has comparatively lower rate of inflation (6.2%) than our neighborhood
countries. This affects on the pricing strategy
• Labor cost in Bangladesh is very low. So it helps in cutting cost and increase production
of drug stuffs. Like the RMG sector, low labor cost hugely effects on the pharmaceutical
• Increase in per capita income (annual 1180$) as well as disposable income of the
population has a great impact on the industry
• Alternate Methods used in rural areas (spiritual, Herbal, Homeopathy etc) which affects
the pharmaceutical industry. But the use of these alternatives are reducing
exponentially in urban and suburban area
• Religion has a huge impact in the pharmaceutical industry. Religious views plays a major
role in consumption of different products in our country
• Demographics features of population also affects on the pharmaceutical industry
• Increasing age of population and growth in obesity also affects on the industry
• Health concerns and increase in self awareness of the population also has a huge impact
on the pharmaceutical industry
• 80% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)’s are imported not produced in our
country because of technical issues. These has a huge impact on the pricing
• Unreliable power supply force leads firms to depend on self-generation of power which
increases production cost of drugs.
• Technological innovation observed only in medicine production process but not in the
production of material/machine. These has a huge impact on the industry
• Innovation in information and communication technology has a major impact on
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• Growing environmental agenda and community awareness have a huge impact on the
• Climate change affects hugely on the whole operation and production
• “The National Drug Policy 2005” states that the pharmaceutical plants must comply with
disposal of waste streams which increases cost of production but helps keep our
environment safe. And this concern for the ecosystem is very high in the pharmaceutical
• World Bank (2009) reports Bangladesh as ranked 119 out of 183 economies on ease of
doing business regarding legal issues. This indicates how lenient the legal issue in
Bangladesh is regarding business.
• Monitoring and supervisory role of DDA (Director of Drug Administration) also affects
the production, distribution and marketing of medicines and drug stuffs
WHO’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) should be strictly followed by every
pharmaceutical companies. This legislation has a huge impact on the industry
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Porter’s 5 Force Model:
Porter’s 5 force model is a standard analysis process to identify the external environment of a
company. For Square pharmaceutical ltd we analyzed the external environment of the
pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh. And the analysis revealed the following result.
Bargain Power of Customer: Low
• Consumer has no choice but to buy what Doctor says. So consumers are left with zero
options for bargain
• Retail buyers of medicine and drug stuff are scattered not united as it is not a
commodity or regular product.
• NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) tries to control the price but not much
effective due to the political and legal situation of Bangladesh
So this observation clearly indicates that the Bargaining Power of Customer is Low.
Bargain Power of Supplier: Low
• Pharmaceutical industry depends upon organic chemicals which are easy to produce
and comparatively cheaper in our country. So the producers of those chemicals have
almost zero or little bargaining power.
• Chemical industry is very competitive and fragmented so switching cost for the bigger
pharmaceutical industries like Square is less costly and easier. So the supplier can’t
• Only a few items of pharmaceutical industry require importing. And the big player of
the industry has their own supplier of those import goods.
From the analysis we can conclude that Bargaining Power of supplier is also Low.
Rivalry among Existing Firms: High
• The number of firms in the industry is very high. So does the competition.
• There are lots of similar sized firms in the industry. Only the market leader Square
pharmaceutical ltd is too large than the other companies and other companies are
almost similar in size regarding revenue, market share and distribution.
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• Product Differentiation is very high ranging from simple to sophisticated medicines and
• Cost competitiveness is very high in the pharmaceutical industry.
As a result the Rivalry among Existing Firms is quite High.
Threat of Substitute Products: Very Low
• There is little or almost zero substitute for medicine and drug stuffs. So it can be said
there almost zero possibility of substitution of drugs.
• Biotechnology is a threat for pharmaceutical industry but for Bangladesh this threat will
be quite mild for several decades as the development of that sector is quite mild in our
So the Threat of Substitute product is Very Low in developing countries like Bangladesh.
Threat of New Entrants: Very High
• Capital requirement for introducing a pharmaceutical company is low for local firms or
root level. So anyone with minimum idea of the industry can easily enter the
• Creating a regional distribution network is easy as the communication channel became
so developed in the past decades. So any small local firm can easily grab their fair share
from the pharmaceutical industry.
From the analysis we came to the conclusion that Threat of New Entrants in the pharmaceutical
industry is Very High.
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Dominant Traits of the Industry
From the analysis of pharmaceutical industry we have came up with the following dominant
traits. They are:
• The pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive and Dynamic
• There are too many players in Market (about 231)
• The growth of the pharmaceutical industry is Gradual and visible (around 23%)
• Unlimited growth opportunity as there is little or no substitute products
• Easy to access in the industry but difficult to retain due to extensive competition
• In pharmaceutical industry the doctors community plays a vital role
• Consumers usually don’t bother about the pricing of the drugs/medicine as it is a live
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Drivers of Change
The pharmaceutical industry was dominated by MNC’s but after 1982 the scenario changed.
The Driving forces are-
• National Drug policy, 1982
• Drug Control Ordinance, 1982
• Intellectual Property Legislation (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
These ordinance and policies are developed to provide local companies some competitive
advantage. This provided the local companies the necessary drive to take over the markets
There are other Drivers of changes like:
• Doha declaration from implementing patent protection for pharmaceutical patents
• Foreign brands are not allowed to be manufactured under license in Bangladesh if
similar products are being manufactured in the country
• 150 drugs were defined as essential drugs. For those, level prices are fixed for the
finished drugs as well as for their corresponding raw materials
As a result the pharmaceutical market flourished and still in the growing state. Other common
drivers for the market are-
• Technological Advancement
• Export Opportunity
• Changing Lifestyle
• Government regulation and control
• Competitive environment
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Pharmaceutical is the second largest revenue generating industry in Bangladesh after
readymade garments (RMG) and the industry is doing really well. Pharmaceutical industry is
enjoying some patent advantages as the introduction and continuation of TRIPs agreement
from 2005 up to 2016. These eleven years will be very crucial and important for the
The overall attempts of the assignment were to find out and to give a clear idea about the
practical practice of business strategy of Square Pharmaceutical Limited. In the assignment we
tried our best to do so and presented a competitive scenario of the company as well as the
Government support is very important for the growth and expansion of the sector at this stage.
Investment to introduce newer drugs and newer research products is crucial, while at the same
time maintaining a healthy competitiveness among pharmaceutical companies is essential.
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Annual Report of Square Pharmaceutical Limited-FY 2012-2013, 2012-2011, 2011-2010.
Pharma Mirror magazine, published in may 8, 2013
Corporate Brochure of SPL, published in 15th July, 2007.
Abul K. Azad; Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Sector: Present and Potential, BAPA Journal;
Chakroborty, Rinton; Executive, PMD; Report on Plant Orientation Program-Dhaka Unit;