New Delhi: Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd of Bangladesh said it has become the world’s first company to start selling the COVID-19 drug remdesivir to address the urgent need to treat the infection caused by the deadly coronavirus across the developing countries.
The Dhaka-based Beximco will sell the generic version of Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug for about 6,000 taka (Rs 5,350) a vial to private clinics but will give it free to government hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. A critically-ill coronavirus patient will need at least six vials, said Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer at the company.
Bangladesh has the permission to manufacture the COVID-19 drug under the provisions of World Trade Organisation that grants least developed countries from procuring licences to manufacture such drugs.
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.
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.
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