Health Canada has authorized the use of Gilead Sciences Canada Inc.’s remdesivir drug to treat people with severe COVID-19 symptoms on Tuesday, making this the first drug the regulator has approved to treat the virus.
The use of remdesivir is authorized only under certain conditions, Health Canada said. It has been approved for use in adults and adolescents aged 12 years or older.
Health Canada’s other conditions include that the manufacturer ensures the continued safety, efficacy, and quality of the drug. The regulator said it will closely monitor how remdesivir is prescribed to patients and will take action if any concerns arise.
“We appreciate Health Canada’s expedited review of Veklury (the brand name for remdesivir) in recognition of the urgent need to treat COVID-19 patients in Canada,” Gilead Sciences Canada General Manager Melissa Koomey said in a release Tuesday. “We are thankful for their collaboration and leadership, as we together work to respond to this public health emergency.”
The drug has been given emergency or conditional authorization in some other countries including the United States, Japan, Europe and Australia.
In Canada, some COVID-19 patients have already been treated with remdesivir under the regulator’s Special Access Program.