Dhaka, May 21: Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical giant, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, on Thursday announced the launch of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug which has recently been given US FDA “Emergency Use Authorisation” for treatment of COVID-19 patients.With the launch of Remdesivir – which is being branded under the name of Bemsivir – Beximco Pharmaceuticals becomes the first company in the world to have launched a generic version of this highly anticipated drug. It is also the first drug to be found effective in stopping the replication of SARS-CoV-2.
The launching of the antiviral drug was announced during a simple ceremony at the Health Ministry today in presence of Zahid Maleque MP, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Md. Asadul Islam, Secretary, Health Care Division, Md. Ali Noor, Secretary, Health Education and Family Welfare Division, Major General Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Director General, Directorate General of Drug Adminstration (DGDA), Prof Dr. A B M Abdullah, Personal Physician to Honorable Prime Minister, and Brigadier General Md. Shahidullah, Director, Central Medical Stores Depot, were also present on this occasion.
While handing over the first batch of medicine, Managing Director of Beximco Pharma Nazmul Hassan MP said all government hospital treat patients free of cost. “And therefore, we have decided to provide Bemsivir free of cost to all those severely ill patients of government hospitals.”
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. Following thorough evaluation, Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization to Beximco Pharma’s Remdesivir IV Injection (under the brand name Bemsivir) on 21 May 2020.
Originally developed by US based Gilead Sciences, Remdesivir is a direct acting antiviral drug that inhibits viral RNA synthesis. Remdesivir is administered intravenously and is authorized for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 disease.
Recent clinical trials have shown evidence that Remdesivir helps severe COVID-19 patients recover faster. Japan Government has also granted Special Approval for Remdesivir in emergency treatment of COVID-19.
The emergency approvals will help broaden use of Remdesivir in hospitalized patients, especially in developing and least developed countries where access to breakthrough, advanced drugs remains a major challenge, said Nazmul Hassan MP, Managing Director of Beximco Pharma.
“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. This reinforces our commitment to play our part in ensuring access to breakthrough therapies despite facing many challenges amid this unprecedented pandemic. We express our gratitude to the regulatory authorities for extending their wholehearted support for making this potential drug available to our patients at the earliest possible time. As a responsible Company, we will continue to extend our support to the Government in all possible ways during this national emergency,” said Nazmul Hassan MP, Managing Director of Beximco Pharma.
He said Beximco Pharma will supply Remdesivir (Bemsivir) to Government designated hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, and not to be available through retail pharmacies, in compliance with the directives from Bangladesh drug regulatory authorities. On the very first day of receiving regulatory approval, Beximco Pharma has donated large quantities of Remdesivir (Bemsivir) to Bangladesh Government for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Zahid Maleque MP, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, lauded Beximco Pharma for its initiatives during this time of pandemic.
Nazmul Hassan MP, Managing Director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, commented: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Beximco Pharma has taken various proactive measures to provide the latest, evidence-based treatment options for the COVID-19 patients. The Company is committed to fighting this unprecedented pandemic, in all possible ways, employing its competitive R&D and manufacturing skills.
Beximco Pharma has already launched another anti-viral drug Favipiravir (under the brand name Viraflu), as well as repurposed antimalarial drug hydroxychlorquine (under the brand name Kovicin) and anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin (under the brand name Ivera) as potential COVID-19 treatment.