Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited, a fast-growing manufacturer of generic pharmaceutical products, API and exporter in Bangladesh, has announced the launch of remdesivir (under the brand name Bemsivir), an antiviral drug, which has been recently granted Emergency Use Authorization by the US FDA 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.
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’s remdesivir IV injection (under the brand name Bemsivir) received on 21 May 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 Bemsivir to the Bangladesh Government for supply only to Government hospitals free of charge. Remdesivir 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. 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.”Nazmul Hassan MP, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, said.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beximco 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 hydroxychlorquine (under the brand name Kovicin) and anti-parasitic drug ivermectin (under the brand name Ivera) as potential treatments for COVID-19.
Beximco Pharma's state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities are certified by global regulatory authorities such as USA, Europe, Australia, Canada, GCC and Latin America, among others and it has a geographic footprint in more than 50 countries. In August 2016, Beximco Pharma became the first Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company to export medicine to the US market following its manufacturing site approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in June 2015