Bangladesh-based Beximco Pharmaceuticals has become the first company to launch a generic version of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir for treating COVID-19.
The drugmaker received emergency clearance from the country’s Directorate General of Drug Administration on May 21 to market the generic as Bemsivir.
The company is donating a supply to government hospitals in Bangladesh free of charge and it will sell the generic to private clinics. It also hopes to supply the export market, even though the generic is not licensed by Gilead.
Beximco was not one of the five generic drugmakers that signed non-exclusive licensing agreements with Gilead earlier this month to manufacture and sell the antiviral (DID, May 13).
Remdesivir is also being made available in other countries through government-run health services. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), for example, said it will provide the drug to some COVID-19 patients via an early-access program for unapproved medicines.
Gilead will provide remdesivir to the NHS free of charge under the early-access program. — Jordan Williams