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Dexamethasone: SA pharma giant Aspen to ‘ramp up’ production of ‘breakthrough’ drug | News24

Dexamethasone: SA pharma giant Aspen to ‘ramp up’ production of ‘breakthrough’ drug | News24

A box of Dexamethasone tablets.

A field of Dexamethasone tablets.

Matthew Horwood/Getty Photos

Pharmaceutical big Aspen Pharmacare has mentioned that it is able to scale up manufacturing of a generic anti-inflammatory drug that would assist save the lives of critically sick coronavirus sufferers.

A mass remedy trial led by Oxford College this week discovered {that a} low-dose steroid named dexamethasone may cut back mortality amongst ventilated sufferers by a 3rd.

Durban-based Aspen, the most important drug producer in Africa, will now “ramp up manufacturing” of the drug, Aspen senior govt Stavros Nicolaou mentioned.

READ | ‘Breakthrough’: Mkhize optimistic over new Covid-19 treatment

Dexamethasone has been available on the market for over 60 years and often serves to scale back irritation.

“We’re nonetheless attending to phrases with what the worldwide calls for can be,” Nicolaou mentioned.

“Clearly, if this surges via the roof, you’ll have some constraints.”

The corporate at the moment manufactures dexamethasone tablets in Germany and contracts the drug’s injectable kind to 3rd events.

The World Well being Group has flagged additional analysis on a budget and extensively obtainable steroid as a “precedence”, which is prone to result in a surge in demand.

‘Main function’

Aspen’s shares on the Johannesburg Inventory Trade soared to a three-month excessive after the research’s launch on Tuesday.

“What this does for us, extra importantly, is that it permits Aspen to proceed taking part in a number one function within the South African Covid response and in addition extra broadly in different international locations,” Nicolaou mentioned, including that the corporate has already been serving to with coronavirus outbreaks internationally.

Established in 1850, Aspen has been a serious provider of anaesthetics to European international locations combating Covid-19.

“Anaesthetics are an essential portfolio of merchandise for Covid so we had been capable of make a distinction for sufferers,” Nicolaou defined.

“We’ll now once more be capable of make a distinction with dexamethasone.”


The well being ministry has recognised the Britain-led dexamethasone trials as an “essential breakthrough” that will be “simply implementable in our nation”.

“The Division of Well being… has really helpful that dexamethasone will be thought of to be used on sufferers on ventilators and on oxygen provide,” President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned in an handle to the nation this week.

“We imagine that this may enhance our administration of the illness amongst those that are most severely affected.”

“It’s fairly thrilling,” Well being Minister Zweli Mkhize mentioned beforehand, “as a result of licences to do that drug all around the world are owned by a South African firm.”

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