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Bangladesh starts remdesivir production for COVID-19 treatment

Bangladesh has begun the production process for the anti-viral drug remdesivir, which is being closely watched as a possible effective treatment for COVID-19, pharmaceutical executives said on Wednesday.
“We have started the process well with more than 200 researchers engaging at our labs,” Abdul Muktadir, head of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Limited, said about the production of the United States’ Gilead Sciences-developed drug in Bangladesh.
The drug, he hoped, will be available on the domestic market by the end of May as the government allowed eight companies to produce the drug after the US Food and Drug Administration issue an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir.
Bangladesh, as a UN Least Developed Country, is allowed to produce any patented medicine without prior permission under World Trade Organization agreements. None of the eight companies are interested in exporting the drug at the moment.
The experimental treatment is being studied in multiple ongoing international clinical trials, and the safety and efficacy of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 are not yet fully established, Gilead has cautioned.
Remdesivir production in Bangladesh is new, and it will take time to get it available in the market, said Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer of Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, another company that was allowed to produce the drug.