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Remdesivir, a medicine which could make a difference in the management of severe COVID-19 disease, is available in South Africa now. Cipla obtained authorisation from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (“SAHPRA”) to import this medicine under Section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act. Cipla is working closely with SAHPRA and healthcare facilities to ensure access to remdesivir.

Cipla through an agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc., was granted a licence to manufacture and distribute the antiviral medicine, remdesivir, in 127 countries, including South Africa. As many of these countries are emerging markets that face obstacles in accessing healthcare, Cipla will expand supply to several sub-Saharan African countries.
Cipla has a dedicated manufacturing line at one of its FDA-, WHO- and SAHPRA-approved production facilities for this medication.

The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for remdesivir was first issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 1 May 2020 , mainly based upon a study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the USA. This study showed that remdesivir shortened the time to recovery in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

CEO of Cipla South Africa, Paul Miller, says: “Over the decades, Cipla’s aim has always been to ensure that patients have access to affordable medication, and this is now more important than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

South Africa is currently in the top five in terms of the countries with the most recorded cases of COVID-19 infections. Globally, the pandemic has infected more than 17 million people.