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Bangladesh Drug Maker Beximco and Eskayef Launch World's 1st Generic Molnupiravir, named "Emorivir" & "Monuvir", oral pills for Covid-19

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Oral medicine for Covid-19 Introduced by Eskayef Bangladesh


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Molnupiravir, the first oral medicine for Covid-19, is now available in the country's domestic market. Beximco Pharmaceuticals launched their generic version of the medicine, "Emorivir – 200," on Monday night.

Later on Tuesday, SKF Pharmaceuticals began to supply the medicine. Square Pharmaceuticals is scheduled to bring the medicine to market within a week, and Renata Limited plans to bring the medicine within the next two weeks.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has so far authorised these four companies to manufacture and market Molnupiravir. Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman, director-general, DGDA, said Molnupiravir has been authorised for emergency use.

"A total of 10 companies applied to manufacture and market the drug but we have authorised a few to do so. We will gradually approve other companies as well," he added.

Rahman said domestic pharmaceutical companies will be approved after capacity verification and they will later be able to export the drug as well after they meet domestic demand.

Earlier, on 4 November 2021, Molnupiravir was approved by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency as the world's first oral product to treat symptomatic Covid-19.

Price of the drug
The director-general of DGDA said patients whose doctors prescribe the medicine to them will have to take four capsules twice a day, totalling eight capsules every day for five days. Each 200-milligram capsule will cost Tk50.

Rabbur Reza, chief operating officer of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, said their company has set the price of each capsule at Tk70 and it will cost Tk2,800 to complete the five-day course of 40 Emorivir capsules."

Reza said Beximco has been working on this drug since June last year.

"We immediately started distributing the medicine to Dhaka pharmacies following approval from the DGDA. Our representatives are visiting doctors and briefing them regarding the new medicine as we speak," he added.

Beximco started sending the drug to different parts of the country on Tuesday, prioritising areas with higher infection numbers, Reza said.

Jubayer Alam, company secretary of Renata Limited, said they will charge Tk50 for each capsule.

Each capsule from SKF Pharmaceuticals will also be priced at Tk50. Square Pharmaceuticals said each of the capsules manufactured by the company will cost Tk50 – Tk70.

Efficacy of the drug
Major General Md Mahbubur Rahman said the drug will help reduce hospitalisation and mortality rates by at least 50%.

"But the drug is not a substitute for vaccination and everyone must remember that. Only people over the age of 18 can take the drug upon a doctor's advice," Rahman added.

Professor Dr Robed Amin, spokesperson, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), during the launching programme of Monuvir, SKF's generic version of Molnupiravir, said the oral drug will help to significantly reduce the Covid-19 death rate.

"If people at high risk are given the drug at an early stage, then death rates in the country will come down to zero soon," he added.

About the drug itself, Amin said, it is a safe, certified, tested, and trusted drug.

"It is surprising that we got the drug as soon as we did. We request pharmaceutical companies keep the drug affordable so that every citizen in need can utilise it," he added.

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Posted on: 16-Jan-2022
Post Creator: Prothom Alo


Molnupiravir to be a game changer: Physicians

The country’s top physicians have termed molnupiravir a 'game changer' as it will fulfill the need of the medicine that physicians were waiting for to treat of the highly contagious disease, coronavirus. Thanking pharmaceutical company Eskayef for bringing the medicine to Bangladeshi market, the physicians said it will change the situation [of Covid-19] in Bangladesh. They made these remarks at a scientific seminar at a hotel in the capital on Saturday, organised by top pharmaceutical company Eskayef, where teachers, physicians and students of different medical colleges including Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) were present.

Former principal of Dhaka Medical College, Khan Abul Kalam Azad, said coronavirus is a nightmare. When physicians could not do anything in April-May last year, Eskayef played a pioneer role bringing remdesivir, he said adding physicians were following progress of the drug. Thanking Eskayef for bringing the medicine to the Bangladesh market, Khan Abul Kalam Azad said, "We may get better results in the treatment." DGHS spokesperson and the Non Communicable Disease Control (NCDC) line director physician Robed Amin presented the keynote paper in the seminar.

He explained how coronavirus spreads in the human body, and how this medicine destroys the virus. Robed Amin also presented the results of the trial of the drug at different levels. He said the coronavirus level was zero in the RTPCR test after the medicine was taken in fixed doses for five days. He, however, advised to using the medicine in a proper manner. He said the medicine has to be taken if there are mild and medium symptoms of coronavirus. In case of high symptoms, the use of this medicine did not yield good results. This medicine is not advised for pregnant women and those who are under 18 years. Physicians in the seminar asked whether this medicine can be prescribed for vaccinated people and in some cases coronavirus is not detected in RTPCR test. Robed Amin said this medicine cannot be prescribed if the patient is asymptomatic or the disease is not detected in RTPCR test.

On the other hand, the result of research has not indicated what would be the reaction if the patients has has the coronavirus vaccine. Speaking to Prothom Alo after the seminar, Robed Amin said vaccinated people may be infected with coronavirus. This medicine can be prescribed if coronavirus is detected in RTPCR test. Sheikh Russel Gastroliver Institute & Hospital professor Faruk Ahmed, Dhaka Medical College radiology department professor Shawpan Banerjee, BSMMU rheumatology department professor Nazrul Islam and cardiology department professor Md Harisul Haque also spoke at the seminar. They thanked Eskayef for marketing the medicine in Bangladesh expeditiously. At the end of the event, Eskayef executive director (marketing and sales) physician Mohammad Mujahidul Islam said the process has started to export the medicine abroad. This initiative of Eskayef has enhanced the image of the country, he added.
 

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