Pharmaceutical companies in India and Pakistan sign deal to produce covid-19 drug

Grigory Matyunin 15-May-2020
Coronavirus outbreak
ID 170766278 © Alexander Yakimov | Dreamstime.com

Pharmaceutical companies in India and Pakistan have signed a deal with the American company Gilead to produce remdesivir, following evidence that the drug can shorten the duration of coronavirus symptoms.

The deal will allow Gilead to export the drug to 127 different countries.

The drug’s price is yet to be announced. According to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, if the price is based solely upon the production costs, a 10-day course could be as inexpensive as £8.20.

Currently, a course of remdesivir costs £650 in Bangladesh, well in excess of average monthly earnings in that country. Health lobby groups have argued that Gilead’s patent should be taken away and the drug sold at an affordable price.

The drug was initially developed for treatment of Ebola, but was later found to be a more effective form of treatment for Sars.

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) has discovered that the drug reduced the duration of covid-19 symptoms on average from 15 to 11 days and slightly improved the likelihood of surviving the disease.