Bangladesh approves generic covid drug

Authorities in Bangladesh have approved the production and marketing of a generic oral drug to treat COVID-19.

The original pill was developed by US firms Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

The Directorate General of Drug Administration in Bangladesh announced last week it had authorized eight pharmaceutical companies to make and sell the generic drug.

Merck says its pill molnupiravir cuts the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by about half.
One of the companies, Beximco, said it has started production and will soon go to market.

The authorities also said the pills would cost about half a dollar each.
They say the drug will only be available by prescription and cannot be used by people under the age of 18. Patients will need to take eight pills a day for five days.