From now on, Bangladesh will be making the cartridge for the insulin pen, called pen-fill. One of the world’s leading healthcare companies, Novo Nordisk, and Eskayef Pharmaceuticals, one of Bangladesh’s most prominent pharmaceutical companies are working together to produce this cartridge to make insulin more accessible for individuals with diabetes.
Transcom CEO Simeen Rahman, Eskayef CEO and managing director Rajarshi Dey Sarkar, Novo Nordisk Vice President (Corporate) Lars Arnoldsen, and its Bangladesh General Manager Rajarshi Dey Sarkar inaugurated on Tuesday a cartridge production unit in a separate building on the Eskayef medicine plant premises in Tongi, the capital. At the inauguration, Bangladesh Diabetes Association president AK Azad Khan was joined by Drug administration director general, Major General Mohammad Yusuf, and Denmark’s ambassador to Dhaka Winnie Estrup Petersen.
Several companies in the country import cartridges and sell them on the market. The cartridge that will be made in Tongi will be the first one in the country to meet international standards. This is why officials from both companies have called the plan to make penfill a “historic” event. The factory started the penfill validation process soon after it opened. For the time being, the penfill will be unavailable to diabetes patients in Bangladesh. Once the process of validation is done, it will be put on the market.
According to officials, the country’s citizens will be able to use locally-produced penfill from the first half of 2023. The drug company’s original goal was to make 50,2 million penfills per year, but it hasn’t decided on a market price yet. When Simeen Rahman spoke about the penfill project earlier this week in the Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain building of Eskayef pharmaceuticals factory, she shed light on the longstanding ties between Transcom Group and Nordisk.
When it comes to business, she noted, Eskayef focuses on the beliefs and ideals and does not compromise on quality. It makes drugs for Bangladesh that meet the standards of the rest of the world. Professor AK Azad Khan said, “there has never been a shortage of insulin in Bangladesh because the Bangladesh Diabetes Association has worked with Novo Nordisk for a long time. After it starts being made in the country, penfill will be easy for people to get”. He also hopes that it could be sent to other countries.
Officials from Eskayef said that the machines used to make pen refills in Denmark were brought to Bangladesh from Europe. Eskayef has successfully made a copy of the Danish factory where pen refills are made by Novo Nordisk.
Major General Yousuf, who is in charge of the Department of Drug Administration, talked about keeping pencil prices low enough so that most people can buy them. He hopes that Eskayef will be able to meet the local demand and send penfill to other countries. Winnie Estrup Petersen, the Danish ambassador, said that Eskayef is an important part of Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical industry. This partnership between SKF and Novo Nordisk will help reach health-related sustainable development goals.
In 2009, Eskayef began to work with Novo Nordisk on insulin. Since 2012, insulin made by Novo Nordisk has been made in Eskayef’s factories. In 2018, Eskayef and Novo Nordisk made a deal about making penfill. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the project had to be put off.
Lars Arnoldsen, the vice president of Novo Nordisk, said, “Eskayef has a creative mindset. Novo Nordisk has worked with companies from all over the world. But they haven’t had the chance to work with a great partner like SKF very often.
Rajarshi Dey Sarkar, the vice president, and general manager of Novo Nordisk Bangladesh said that Novo Nordisk has been working on insulin for 100 years. Since 1958, they have been doing business in Bangladesh. The main goal of the penfill project is to share technology. This will make insulin easier to get. After the ceremony, the penfill unit was officially inaugurated. The guests went on a visit to different floors of the production facility.