Bangladeshi pharma company the first to sell remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment

indica News Bureau-

Dhaka-based pharmaceutical company has become the world’s first company to start selling Gilead’s COVID-19 drug remdesivir for treatment of coronavirus patients in the country. While the pharma company Beximco will supply the drug for free to government and state-run hospitals treating COVID-19 patients while it has fixed its price for supplying the medicine to private clinics.

Beximco, which counts Norges Bank as one of its investors, will sell remdesivir for about 6,000 taka ($71 or Rs 5,350) 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.

The World Trade Organization has given the permission to Bangladesh to manufacture the COVID-19 drug under the provisions that grants least developed countries from procuring licenses to manufacture such drugs. Gilead has since granted licence to five companies including Cipla Ltd. and Mylan NV in India to make generic versions of the COVID-19 drug and sell them to 127 countries.

The COVID-19 drug remdesivir was approved by US drug regulators for treating serious patients infected by the virus, making it the first medication backed by clinical data to fight the virus.

“We’re also receiving queries from other countries,” Reza said. “The drug will not be supplied through traditional distribution channels. If some governments need our drug, we’ll export it,” he added.

Bangladesh has more than 26,000 infected cases and 386 deaths, according to data available at Johns Hopkins University.