Pakistan to start manufacturing COVID-19 treatment drug: Dr Zafar Mirza

Two countries including Pakistan have been allowed to manufacture the ‘Remdesivir’ COVID-19 drug.

A Pakistani pharmaceutical company Ferozsons Laboratories Limited will begin the production of Remdesivir, a drug being used to treat coronavirus internationally in a period of 2 months, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza said in a press conference.

Dr. Mirza pointed out that the drug from the American company Gilead has been proven effective for treating coronavirus patients. He also noted that the drug lessened the intensity of the novel coronavirus by 30%.

Mirza also said that a total of five companies worldwide received a license to manufacture the drug.  “Among the five companies [granted the license to manufacture the drug] one of them is a Pakistani company,” he said.

He also pointed out that this is first such instance that a manufacturer from Pakistan has been included in a global supply solution of this kind.

The drug is expected to be available to the local patients in six to eight weeks’ time. Apart from being used at home, it will also be exported to other countries affected by COVID-19.

“It will not only be available for patients in Pakistan but the plan is to export this drug to 127 countries,” he said. “Pakistan will be among three countries in the world to produce and export this to 127 countries. This is a big breakthrough and this is big news for coronavirus patients in Pakistan, who are increasing by the day and are expected to increase more.”

Ferozsons Laboratories CEO Osman Khalid Waheed said it’s his company’s intent to sell the drug for the lowest possible price.

The drug was approved for coronavirus treatment on May 1 by the United State Food and Drug Authority and on May 8 by the Japanese authorities. Dr. Mirza said that this drug’s registration by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) will be fast tracked to fulfill legal requirements.

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