Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited on Thursday announced the launch of remdesivir (under the brand name Bemsivir), an antiviral drug, which has been recently granted Emergency Use Authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Covid-19.
With this introduction, Beximco Pharma is the first company in the world to launch a generic version of remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19, reads a press release.
The antiviral drug was inaugurated in the presence of health minister Zahid Maleque at his office. The minister expressed his gratitude towards the company for its noble initiative amid the crisis.
The launch, which was anticipated in the company's announcement on 4 May 2020, follows the grant of Emergency Use Authorisation by the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), the regulatory authority in Bangladesh, for Beximco Pharma's remdesivir IV injection (under the brand name Bemsivir) received on May 21, 2020.
Emergency approvals will help to broaden the use of remdesivir in hospitalised patients, especially in developing and least developed countries where access to breakthrough, advanced drugs remains a major challenge.
Originally developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc, remdesivir is a direct-acting antiviral drug that inhibits viral RNA synthesis. Remdesivir is administered intravenously and is authorised for the treatment of hospitalised patients with severe Covid-19 disease. Recent clinical trials have shown evidence that remdesivir helps severe Covid-19 patients recover faster.
Beximco Pharma is donating remdesivir (Bemsivir) to the Bangladesh government for supply only to government hospitals free of charge. Remdesivir (Bemsivir) will not be available through retail pharmacies, in compliance with the directives from the DGDA.
"We are pleased to be the first generic company in the world to introduce this very important drug for treating hospitalised Covid-19 patients. This reinforces our commitment to ensure access to breakthrough therapies, despite facing many challenges amid this unprecedented pandemic. We express our gratitude to the regulatory authority for their support in making this drug available to patients at the earliest possible time," said Nazmul Hassan, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals.
"As we continue to work closely with, and extend our support to, the Bangladesh government during this national emergency, we recognise the essential service government hospitals provide to patients across the country free of charge. We are, therefore, delighted to donate Bemsivir to patients with severe Covid-19 in government hospitals," he added.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Beximco Pharma has taken various proactive measures to provide the latest, evidence-based treatment options for Covid-19 patients. The company is committed to fighting this pandemic, in all possible ways, employing its competitive R&D and manufacturing skills.
Beximco Pharma has already launched the anti-viral drug favipiravir (under the brand name Viraflu), as well as the repurposed antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (under the brand name Kovicin) and anti-parasitic drug ivermectin (under the brand name Ivera) as potential treatments for Covid-19.