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Bangladesh pharma sends drug to Pakistan to treat coronavirus patients

Web Report
Filed on June 2, 2020
covid19, coronavirus, remdesivir, beximco, searle pharma, Bemsivir

(Reuters file)

The medicine was flown to Pakistan on a special flight.

A Bangladeshi-based pharmaceutical company has sent medicine to help treat critically-ill coronavirus, Covid-19, patients.

Beximco Pharmaceuticals on Sunday sent Bemsivir to Pakistan for critically ill Covid-19 patients by a special cargo flight, The Daily Star reported.

Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, director of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), told The Daily Star that the cargo aircraft landed at the airport at 8:30pm on Sunday and departed at 10:03pm.

A spokesperson of Beximco said the medicine was sent to Pakistan on request of the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka for three critically ill Covid-19 patients, The Daily Star added.

"Beximco sent 48 vials/injections of Bemsivir on humanitarian grounds."

Bemsivir - the world's first approved generic Remdesivir - was sent for a small group of critically ill patients against special import permit issued by Pakistan's Drug Regulatory Authority.

Earlier, Reuters reported that a pharmaceutical company in Pakistan had planned to import the antiviral drug remdesivir, which has shown promise in treating coronavirus patients, from neighbouring Bangladesh, it said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

The announcement by Searle Company Limited came a day after 56 virus deaths recorded by Pakistan in a single day.

The firm said it had entered into an exclusive licensing and marketing agreement with Bangladesh's Beximco Pharmaceuticals , the first company in the world to introduce the generic variant of the drug.

"Searle Pharma is planning to import remdesivir in finished form (ready to use) to meet the country's urgent requirements," the company told the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Remdesivir, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences, has grabbed attention as one of the most promising treatments for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, which has killed more than 350,000 people globally.

This month, Ferozson's Pharma said it would make the drug in Pakistan after signing a non-exclusive licensing pact with Gilead to make and sell the drug to 127 nations, but it warned that production could take "weeks".

Searle said the Bangladesh imports would ensure an immediate supply of the drug at an affordable price, helping to eliminate treatment delays by Pakistan's healthcare providers.

Gilead's patent gives the US company exclusive rights to make the antiviral. But global trade rules allow nations defined by the United Nations as least-developed countries (LDCs) to ignore the patent and make such drugs more affordable in their markets.
Bangladesh is one of 47 countries that fall in this category.


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