Pakistan, along with India, is the only one among developing countries to have effectively stored enough of Remdesivir to meet their national demands of the medicine in times of crisis, according to Financial Times.
The second wave of Covid-19 has raised serious challenges for countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland, leading to the resurgence of drastic measures such as lockdowns and strict implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs). Under the current scenario, the drug companies are also following challenges to meet the abnormal global demand for healthcare products related to the treatment of the viral disease.
Drug companies in India and Pakistan, which are part of the licensing agreement with the Foster City, California-based biopharmaceutical company, for production and distribution of the experimental Covid-19 drug, said that there is no problem in catering to the local demand.
In May, Gilead signed a licensing agreement with nine companies in India, Pakistan and Egypt to supply the drug to 127 developing countries. For the duration of the pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), or until an alternative vaccine for Covid-19 is found, the licenses for these companies will be royalty-free bringing down the cost of the drug in India to Rs2200-Rs 2,800 as compared to $380 or Rs28,600 (approx.) in the US.
India-based generic pharmaceutical company Hetero said that very few of the 127 countries under the Gilead licensing agreement have set up a mechanism for procurement of Remdesivir. Hetero, which had delivered around 800,000 doses of the drug since it started production in June, has only exported to 25 countries while Cipla, another Indian drug manufacturer to only South Africa.
Gilead said more than 40 countries have received the drug so far as part of the royalty-free licensing agreement.
Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, one of the largest drug manufacturers in Pakistan, is also sitting on a huge stockpile of the drug after cases suddenly declined in Pakistan. It is now exporting to Caribbean countries, Kenya and the Philippines, the report added.