A plaque in front of Beximco Pharmaceuticals in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Photo: Company website/Flickr)

BANGLADESH pharma major Beximco Pharmaceuticals will immediately start production of remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug which has shown promise in fighting the COVID-19, a senior company executive said on Tuesday (5). Initially, it will be given for domestic use.

Developed by Gilead Sciences, Remdesivir is believed to be effective in fighting COVID-19. The US drug authorities granted emergency use authorisation last week, paving the way for its broader use across the US hospitals.
The company plans to price the drug, which is given via intravenous infusion, at between $59-$71/per vial, Beximco’s chief operating officer Rabbur Reza said. A patient might need anywhere between 5 and 11 vials.
“We will only know exactly how much a patient needs once studies are complete,” Reza said.
Beximco’s pricing indicates a course of remdesivir treatment could cost anywhere between $295 and $781 per patient in Bangladesh depending on the severity of the case, the number of vials required and the final pricing of the drug. The figures are a first indication of how the potentially life-saving drug will be priced.
Gilead has donated an initial batch of 1.5 million vials of the drug to help patients in the US, but has yet to announce its pricing.

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), which assesses the effectiveness of drugs to determine appropriate prices, put the cost of producing a 10-day course of remdesivir at $10. It suggested the price could rise to $4,500 based on patient benefits shown in clinical trials.