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Dhaka Tribune

First to produce in Bangladesh, Beximco will supply remdesivir for free to govt

The drug maker has decided to supply it for free as the government is providing treatment to Covid-19 patients
Update : 21 May 2020, 06:57 PM

Beximco Pharmaceuticals, the first Bangladeshi drug manufacturer to introduce remdesivir in the local market, will supply the medicine for free to government hospitals dedicated for Covid-19 patients.

The company handed over 1,000 doses of the medicine to the government on Thursday.

The drug will not be available through retail pharmacies, in compliance with the directives from Bangladesh drug regulatory authorities, Beximco Pharma Managing Director Nazmul Hasan said while handing over the first batch of remdesivir to Health Minister Zahid Maleque at the Secretariat on Thursday.

“The US drug regulators has cleared the emergency use of remdesivir. This drug is a bit more expensive than other drugs. A patient needs 6-11 doses. If the cost of an injection is Tk5,000-Tk6,000, then a patient will need about Tk60,000,” said the Beximco Pharma top official.

Beximco is marketing the drug in the Bangladesh with the commercial name of Bemsivir.

“Since the government of Bangladesh is providing free treatment to Covid-19 patients in government hospitals, we at Beximco have decided that as many patients as there are in government hospitals in Bangladesh, if they need remdesivir, they will get it for free. We will not take money from the government for this. If we are told a patient needs this medicine, we will deliver it there,” he added.

Hasan said that Beximco was the first generic company in the world to introduce this very important drug for treating the hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

“This reinforces our commitment to play our part in ensuring access to breakthrough therapies despite facing many challenges amid this unprecedented pandemic,” he added.

At the handing over ceremony, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said: “A vaccine or a medicine for treating Covid-19 patients is yet to be made, but many countries including the US are using remdesivir as it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Apart from remdesivir, some other medicines are also in the market to treat Covid-19 patients. Remdesivir can help stable emergency patients. So doctors can prescribe the medicine keeping in mind the condition of the patients,” Zahid added. 

Remdesivir, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences, came into light as one of the most promising medicines to treat Covid-19 cases, a severely accute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

US drug authorities granted emergency use of it recently, paving the way for its broader use in US hospitals, after Gilead provided data showing the drug had helped treat Covid-19 patients.

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