Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical giant, Beximco Pharmaceuticals today appeared to be the pioneer in launching antiviral Remdesivir for critical COVID-19 patients, weeks after the drug obtained US drug agency’s approval for combating coronavirus.
“We are pleased to be the first generic company in the world to introduce this very important drug for treating the hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Beximco Pharma’s managing director Nazmul Hassan Papon MP announced marking the launching of the medicine.Beximco Pharma became the first company across the globe in launching a generic version of the highly anticipated drug while the company in a statement said it would brand the medicine as “Bemsivir”.
Papon handed over the first batch of medicine to health minister Zahed Maleque to mark the drug’s introduction at the ministry saying “we have decided to provide Bemsivir free of cost to all those severely ill patients of government hospitals” which provide patients free treatments.
Beximco in a statement said it was also the first drug to be found effective in stopping the replication of SARS-CoV-2.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month granted the multinational Gilead Science Inc. “emergency use authorisation” clearing the way for broader use.
“It’s the first authorized therapy for COVID-19, so we’re really proud to be part of it,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said while announcing the FDA approval.
Doctors and health experts, however, said the drug was found to be curing COVID-19 patients in 11 days compared to 15 days when the patients were not given it.But simultaneously they awaited the drug like this as it might alter the course of the disease that attacks the lungs and can shut down other organs in extremely severe cases.
Gilead said the drug, which is given by intravenous infusion, had helped improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and provided data suggesting it worked better when given earlier in the course of infection.
The launching ceremony of the drug at the health ministry was joined as well by health secretary Md. Asadul Islam, Secretary of health education Md. Ali Noor, director general of drug administration Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s personal physician Professor Dr. A B M Abdullah and Central Medical Stores Depot director Brigadier General Md. Shahidullah.
“Beximco Pharma, listed on the Alternate investment Market (AIM) of London Stock Exchange, was the first company in Bangladesh to apply for regulatory approval, duly completing all the processes, strictly in compliance with local regulations,” the company statement read.
It added Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization to Beximco Pharma’s Remdesivir IV Injection (under the brand name Bemsivir) on May 21, 2020 following a thorough evaluation.