Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. said it has become the world’s first company to start supplying the generic version of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug Remdevisir for the coronavirus treatment. The drug has been approved by the US drug regulator for emergency use among COVID-19 patients, backed by clinical data, where a certain recovery rate was observed among patients who were treated with the drug. Bangladesh has gotten approval under World Trade Organization (WTO) provisions to produce generic versions of patented drugs. According to the Bloomberg report, the Dhaka-based Beximco, will sell remdesivir for about 6,000 taka ($71) a vial to private clinics, but will give it free to state-run hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer at the company, said in an interview.
A critically ill COVID-19 patient will need at least six vials, he said as quoted by the agency. Reza also informed that the drug will not be supplied through traditional distribution channels, and shall be exported to the governments who send their requirements. As per the last update, 28,511 cases have been confirmed in Bangladesh, with death toll at 408, according to data available at John Hopkins University. Earlier this month, Gilead signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five Indian generic pharmaceutical companies to manufacture Remdevisir, including Cipla Ltd, Hetero Labs Ltd, Jubilant Life Sciences, Mylan and Ferozsons Laboratories, on a royalty-free basis for distribution of the drug in 127 countries.
We will keep on looking at this will effect medicines and the COVID-19 outbreak, but this is promising.