Three women work at Indofarma's manufacturing plant in Cikarang, West Java, last February. (B1 Photo/Mohammad Defrizal)

Kalbe, Indofarma to Sell Gilead's Remdesivir for Indonesian Market


OCTOBER 05, 2020

Jakarta. State-controlled pharmaceutical firm Indofarma and its rival Kalbe Farma are introducing Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral drug from the American pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences to the Indonesian market, to support the government's attempt to reduce the fatality from Covid-19 in the country. 

Indofarma sources the antiviral medicine from Pennsylvania-based generic and specialty drugmaker Mylan Laboratories, while Kalbe gets their supplies from Hetero Drugs, one of India's largest drugmakers. Both the companies' partners make Remdesivir under license from Gilead Sciences, Foster City, and the United States government.

Indofarma will sell the antiviral drug under Desrem brand.

"Regarding the stock, we have about 400,000 vials ready for sale at an affordable price," Arief Pramuhanto, Indofarma's president director, said in a statement on Monday.

Kalbe, which uses the Covifor brand for the drug, has cut the drug prices by half to Rp 1.5 million ($99) per vial in an attempt to cater to as many hospitals as possible.

"After a joint discussion between Kalbe, Hetero India, and Amarox, we agreed to provide a special selling price for Covifor,"  Vidjongtius Kalbe Farma's president director Vidjongtius, said over the weekend. He referred to Amarox Global Pharma, a Hetero's subsidiary in Indonesia that import the drug. 

"The price adjustment is due several recent developments, such as the growing number of the Covid-19 cases in Indonesia and the need for Covid-19 treatment using Covifor in large amounts," Vidjongtius said.

Sandeep Sur, Amarox's country manager, said that the company was well aware of the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially related to rising treatment costs that burden the government and patients. The special discount was Hetero's way to "provide more support," for Indonesia, Sur said. 

Indonesia added 3.992 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday that brought the total to 303,498 cases. So far, 11,151 cases or 3.7 percent of the total confirmed cases ended up in patients' death. 

The country saw 75 percent of the Covid-19 patients recovered, while the remainders are still under treatment. The recovery ratio was higher than the global ratio of 74 percent.