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US firm has allowed Pakistani drugmakers to make COVID-19 drug: Zafar Mirza

ISLAMABAD: In a major development to cure coronavirus patients, a pharmaceutical company of the United States (US) has allowed Pakistan to manufacture anti-viral drug remdesivir.

The announcement was made by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Friday while addressing a press conference at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

Dr Mirza said that an American company Gilead has given a voluntary licence to five companies in South Asia and one of them is a Pakistani drug manufacturing company.

Read more: Gilead ties up with generic drugmakers for COVID-19 drug supply

“Prime Minister Imran Khan held a video conference with Gilead on March 7 and convinced them that they should manufacture the drug in Pakistan,” said the SAPM. He added that in the coming weeks Pakistan will register the drug in the next six weeks and the production will start in eight weeks.

SAPM Dr Mirza shared that Pakistan will also export this drug to 127 countries once the production starts.

Dr Mirza stated that the drug is called remdesivir and the trials conducted in the US showed that the drug led to a 30% decrease in coronavirus patients.

On the occasion, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood stated that it was a big day for Pakistan and was in line with the government’s strategy to diversify the country’s exports.

Read more: Pakistan’s coronavirus cases soar to 37,128 with 803 deaths

“Our trade and investment offices will be informed at once about this and will be included in their economic strategy,” said Dawood.

On May 13, Gilead Sciences confirmed that it has signed non-exclusive licensing pacts with five generic drugmakers based in India and Pakistan to expand the supply of its experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir.

The pacts allow the companies – Jubilant Life Sciences, Cipla , Hetero Labs, Mylan NV and Ferozsons Laboratories – to make and sell the drug in 127 countries.

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