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Beximco, Beacon produce drug to treat Covid-19 patients

  • Published at 11:12 pm April 5th, 2020
Beximco Pharma’s

Six more local drug makers seek approval from Drug Administration to manufacture Favipiravir

Publicly listed companies Beximco Pharmaceuticals and Beacon Pharmaceuticals have produced Favipiravir, an antiviral drug that is being used by China to treat Covid-19 patients.

Six other local drug makers have also sought approvals from the Drug Administration to manufacture Favipiravir amid the upsurge of coronavirus patients in the country.

Top officials of Beximco and Beacon said the drug was prepared and ready for handover to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) for testing and final approval.

The firms were keen to go for commercial production once the approvals were given, they added.

Beximco Pharmaceuticals will give the medicine directly to the hospitals where Covid-19 patients are being treated, while Beacon Pharma is interested to sell the drug through drug stores.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Beximco Pharma Rabbur Reza told Dhaka Tribune that the company was given the green light to produce three other forms of medication alongside Favipiravir and they were ready to deliver the drugs to the government.

"The costing price of Favipiravir is Tk400 for each tablet. Our selling price will be the same," Reza added.

Meanwhile, six other local drug makers sought approvals from the DGDA to manufacture Favipiravir, sources at the DGDA said.

Toyama Chemical, a subsidiary of Japan's Fujifilm Holdings, developed Avigan, their version of Favipiravir, originally meant to treat influenza.

It was later found in Chinese clinical testing to be effective against Covid-19, international media reported.

Fujifilm announced recently it launched clinical trials to test Avigan's effectiveness against the virus and was  preparing to ramp up production.

Pharmaceutical sector insiders said Favipiravir was a patented drug in Japan, but Bangladesh, as a least developed country (LDC), could produce and market the medicine until 2033 under the relaxed patent rules of the World Trade Organization(WTO).

Making the drug was not that easy as there was no confirmed data and raw materials, they added. 

As Covid-19 spread around the world in February, trials began in China on the new drug, and on March 18, an official at the Chinese health and technology ministry announced that the drug had been clearly effective in treating 340 patients.