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New cancer drug launched in Bangladesh

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 9 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Bangladesh based Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd has launched a new drug in the country that will be helpful for treatment of the cancer patients here.

The cancer drug named as Cyramza (ramucirumab injection, 10 mg/mL solution) will be imported by the Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd from the U.S. based Eli Lilly and Company.

The announcement came from a press conference arranged by the Healthcare Pharmaceuticals at a city hotel on Friday morning.

“Cyramza will be marketed and distributed in Bangladesh by Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to help alleviate the burden of cancer,” said Bhupati Kumar Roy, Executive Director (Marketing) of the Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd at the press conference.

He said the Cyramza, is an anti-cancer medicine that is approved as a single agent and/or in combination with other agents for cancers arising from stomach, lungs, liver or large bowel that have spread to distant parts of the body.

Bhupati Kumar Roy also viewed that an integrated insurance policy should be launched in the country in a bid to provide the costly treatment services to the patients at free of cost so that common people particularly the poor people can avail the treatment facilities easily.  

About pricing of the Cyramza, he said they have already submitted a proposal to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) for its approval of the drug. “So far I know, in India the monthly cost of the drug is around 4 to 5 lakh rupees. But we are trying to fix the cost at least 15% less than the cost.”

Luca Visini, MD of the Eli Lilly and Company, India joined the briefing virtually and said, “This drug is an option for the first-line treatment of people with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and second line treatment for people living with the burden of gastric cancer.”

About side effects of the medicine, Dr Hafizur Rahman, Assistant Manager (Medical affairs) of the Healthcare Pharmaceuticals said “this drug is approved by the US FDA drug, has no harmful effect.”

He said at this moment they are directly importing the drug from the US company. “But the healthcare pharmaceutical has capacity to produce such biological molecular production.”

Prof Dr Abdul Hai, director at Bangladesh Cancer Society Hospital and Welfare Home, said such drug like Cyramza can ease the treatment of the cancer patients in Bangladesh.

According to the Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Cyramza is for use in cancers that are usually advanced or have spread despite other treatments. For most cancers it is used in combination with other medicines.

This drug is an anti-cancer medicine indicated to treat adult patients with gastric cancer or cancer of the area where the esophagus enters the stomach, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without actionable mutation or in non-small cell lung cancer driven by mutations (changes) in proteins called epidermal growth factor receptors(EGFRs) and hepatocellular carcinoma (a type of liver cancer)  in patients with a high blood level of a protein called alpha fetoprotein (AFP), it added.