A pharmaceutical company in Pakistan plans to import the antiviral drug remdesivir, which has shown promise in treating coronavirus patients, from Bangladesh, it said in a stock exchange filing on Friday, according to English newspaper, Express Tribune.
The announcement by Searle Company Limited came a day after 56 virus deaths recorded by the South Asian country, its highest toll 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 US pharma company, 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) like Bangladesh to ignore the patent and make such drugs more affordable in their markets.