Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals

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Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Bengal Chemical & Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. (BCPW)
PredecessorBengal Chemical Works (1892-1901)
Founded12 April 1901; 118 years ago (1901-04-12) in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
FounderPrafulla Chandra Rây
Headquarters6 Ganesh Chandra Avenue, ,
Naphthalene balls
4 crore (2016-17)
OwnerGovernment of India
  • Aluminum Sulphate
  • drugs and pharmaceuticals
  • cosmetics and home products

Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BCPL), formerly Bengal Chemical & Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. (BCPW), is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). Established in Kolkata, West Bengal in 1901 by Prafulla Chandra Rây, it is India's first pharmaceutical company.[1] The company manufactures such household Indian products as "Hospitol", "naphthalene balls", and "Phenyl".[2][3] It is one of the first Indian companies to manufacture anti-snake venom serum (ASVS).[4] Following over 6 decades of losses, BCPL posted a profit of 4 crore (US$580,000) in the fiscal year 2016-17.


In 1892, Prafulla Chandra Ray rented house at 91 Upper Circular Road, Kolkata and founded Bengal Chemical Works with a capital of 700 (US$10).[5][6] Ray founded the company as an individual initiative with the intention with fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship among the Bengali youth, and provide an alternative to jobs from the colonial British government. The company presented its herbal products the 1893 session of the Indian Medical Congress in Kolkata.[7]

The reputation of the company grew, and Ray added additional funds of 2 lakh (US$2,900) to the company to increase the scale of production. The business was converted into a Limited Company, and on 12 April 1901 the company was renamed Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. (BCPW), retaining the same premises at 91 Upper Circular Road, Calcutta.[6][5] In 1908, John Cumming wrote in the "Review of the Industrial Position and Prospects in Bengal" that the "enterprise shows signs of resourcefulness and business capacity, which should be an object lesson to capitalists of this province".[7]

The main gate of the Maniktala Main Road factory of BCPL, Kolkata

From a beginning with one factory in Maniktala (Kolkata) in 1905, three more factories were established – one in Panihati in 1920, one in Mumbai in 1938 and one in Kanpur in 1949 with its Registered Office at 6 Ganesh Chandra Avenue.[6][7] The company began to struggle after Roy's death in 1942. Since the 1950s, it recorded losses every year for the next 6 decades until finally posting a profit of 4 crore (US$580,000) in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.[7] The company has nine sales outlets and various C & F Agencies across India.

During the 1960s, the market situation acted as deterrent to growth and the company entered a dark phase in 1970s. The management of the company was taken over by the government of India on 15 December 1977 and nationalized on 15 December 1980. A new company was formed under the name and style “Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.” (BCPL) in 1981.

BCPL has received WHO-GMP Certificate, DGQA Certificate and ISO 9001 Licence[citation needed].

BCPL has entered the production of sera and vaccines. Besides the anti-snake venom serum that is already manufactures, it has plans to manufacture anti rabies vaccine (ARV), Anti Rabies Serum (ARS), Diphtheria Anti Toxin (DAT), Kalazar, etc.[citation needed] It is planned to open a new Pharma Division in the areas of Cardiovascular medicines, Hypolipidemic Drugs, Anticancer Drugs, new Cephalosporin Antibiotics. Negotiation is going on to evaluate the possibility of manufacturing Anti Retroviral Products for which the nation is dependent on imports. It has opened various sales depots and C&F agents in the year 2014 and is now having a Pan India distribution Network.The company is major supplier to Defence,ESIC and has also various rate contracts in DGS&D.


The Company expanded and diversified into a multi-product conglomerate, with three divisions.

  • Division I - Aluminum Sulphate (Alum),
  • Division II - drugs and pharmaceuticals, such as Analgesics & Antipyretics, Antitussive, Expectorants, Enzymes & Hepatobiliary Preparations, Diuretics, Topical Anti-infective & Antifungals, Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, Muscle Relaxants, Antibiotics & Antibacterials, Anti tubercular Drugs, Antimalarial drugs, Vitamins, Oral Electrolytes, Antiasthmatic Preparations, Anti Venom Serum
  • Division III - cosmetics and home products, namely Cantharidine Hair Oil, Disinfectant Fluid (Lamp Brand Pheneol), Moth Repellent (Naphthalene Ball), Aguru (Perfume), Floor Cleanser (White Tiger) and Toilet Cleaner (Klin Toilet).


  1. ^ "Bengal Chemicals FY19 profit jumps 150% to ₹25 crore". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 1 May 2019. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 May 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd". Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd". Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  4. ^ Dutta, Indrani (25 July 2019). "Bengal Chemicals 'sale' plan leaves unions fuming". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Chemistry of nationalism". Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Our Founder & BCPL History". Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d "How India's oldest pharma company smelt success after 6 decades". Hindustan Times. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.

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