The Drug Administration of Bangladesh has given approval to Beximco and Eskayef, two top pharmaceutical companies of the country, for manufacturing molnupiravir, the first-ever Covid-19 oral pill.
Major General Mahbubur Rahman, Director General of Directorate General of Drug Administration or DGDA, informed the matter at a press briefing on Tuesday.
He said that so far Beximco and Eskayef have been approved for the emergency marketing of molnupiravir.
There are eight other pharmaceutical companies on the list waiting for similar approval including Square, Renata, Incepta and Beacon pharmaceuticals. The price of each capsule has been fixed at Tk 50.
The medicine is now available in the market and can be used as per doctors' prescriptions.
Local pharmaceutical companies will produce samples and submit them to the DGDA after receiving the recipe approval.
After getting approval from the drug authorities, the companies will be able to supply the pill in the market.
A number of local pharmaceutical companies of the country applied for the recipe approval of DGDA after the process to produce molnupiravir was developed jointly by US drug companies Merck and the Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
There was no specific oral drug for the treatment of coronavirus earlier. Molnupiravir is being considered as important progress to combat Covid-19. Consumption of this medicine will reduce the need for hospitalization of corona patients and will also reduce the number of deaths.
The drug has been tested in 17 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France and Germany.
The drug was approved on November 4 by the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority. The European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are considering the drug’s approval.
According to a BBC report, Molnupiravir was originally developed for the treatment of common flu.
However, clinical trials have shown that it is also suitable for corona patients, which can reduce the risk of death or hospitalization for a person infected with the virus by 50 percent.
The trials were done in 23 countries, including the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the Philippines.