Market Assessment

Assessment of the Commercial Private Sector for Health Care Products in Bangladesh, AFE USAID 2006

    The goals of this study were to: 1) explore how a market development approach could be used to promote the sustainable delivery of selected health care products to underserved populations in Bangladesh; and 2) identify opportunities for development programs to support commercial private sector initiatives in the healthcare sector of Bangladesh (and draw lessons for potential applications elsewhere). The methodology used for this assessment is based on a 'value chain' framework which seeks to understand the various factors that drive incentives, growth, and competitiveness within a particular industry. It is also based on a "market development approach" which seeks to promote sustainable solutions to industry constraints and opportunities through market forces. The assessment focused on understanding the role and dynamics of the commercial private sector in selected healthcare products in Bangladesh - oral contraceptives, condoms, oral re-hydration solutions (ORS), Vitamin A, and Zinc.

    The primary research questions explored in the assessment were:
    - How is the commercial private sector in Bangladesh involved in the manufacture, distribution, and/or retailing of the selected products?
    - What are the commercial private sector challenges and opportunities to expanding the provision of these products to targeted end users (especially poor and lower middle-class consumers) in Bangladesh?
    - How can these challenges/opportunities be addressed?
    - What are the implications for development organizations interested in supporting the commercial private sector to develop commercially viable products/services that will improve healthcare sector in Bangladesh?

    The objectives, methodology, and value chain framework used for this assessment are described in Section 1. Section 2 presents an overview of the value chain for the selected products. Section 3 presents specific profiles for each of the selected products, and Section 4 summarizes potential opportunities and illustrative interventions for increasing the commercially sustainable provision of these products by the private sector. Finally, Section 5 presents some of the issues raised in promoting a market development approach to the healthcare sector in Bangladesh.

    Methods for info gathering
    secondary source research; 58 in depth interviews with a variety of market actors and key informants including: pharmaceutical firms, manufacturers, distributors/wholesalers, pharmacies, other retailers, healthcare providers, development projects, donors, and government agencies; focus group discussions with leading commercial private sector actors in the value chain

    Summary of results
    For healthcare sector programs in Bangladesh to apply a market development approach that encourages greater involvement by the commercial private sector, there are several strategies or programmatic principles to consider:
    - Avoid distorting markets with subsidized products or promotional campaigns where the commercial private sector sees opportunities for commercially viable products.
    - Use short-term subsidies, combined with commercial private sector contribution, to mitigate investment risks and create business incentives to increase growth and outreach of healthcare products.
    - Coordinate market development strategies in the healthcare sector with other donors.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Programme Design
    »Financial Integration, Economic Strengthening & Broad-Based Dissemination (FIELD-Support), USAID 2006-10