Salem Radio Network News Monday, December 6, 2021

Business

Bangladesh’s Beximco to sell generic version of Merck COVID-19 pill

(Reuters) -Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd will start selling a generic version of Merck & Co’s antiviral pill for COVID-19 following local regulatory approval, it said on Tuesday.

The announcement marks the launch of the world’s first generic version of Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ tablet, molnupiravir, which has been touted as a potential game-changer in the fight against the coronavirus.

Molnupiravir received its first regulatory approval globally, in the UK last week. It is still under review in the United States and Europe.

Beximco will soon begin selling generic molnupiravir, a cheaper version of Merck’s branded pill, in Bangladesh, as it received emergency use authorisation for the treatment from the country’s Directorate General of Drug Administration, it said in a statement. Exports would depend on regulatory approvals globally, it added.

Merck did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. drugmaker has entered into licensing agreements with at least eight Indian drugmakers for molnupiravir, aiming to turn the South Asian nation into a manufacturing hub to supply low- and middle-income nations.

These include Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Emcure Pharmaceuticals and Hetero, among others.

Beximco said it doesn’t expect sales of the generic molnupiravir to significantly boost revenues, given the currently low COVID-19 infection rate in Bangladesh, which neighbours India.

Its London-listed shares were up 6.2% at 107.25 pence by 0825 GMT.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Pushkala Aripaka; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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