Dr Reddy's denies reports it is in talks with Gilead for Covid-19 antiviral

While media reports suggested that Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories is in the early stages of creating a generic version of anti-viral drug remedesivir, the company on Thursday has denied the same. 

The drug, patented by Gilead, is reportedly working well for critically ill Covid-19 patients. A multi-country trial is on. 

Speaking to the media on Thursday, G V Prasad, co-chairman and managing director of Dr Reddy's said that his company was not working on remedesivir and that it was not talks with Gilead on the subject. DRL shares, however, shot up in morning trade on the BSE. 

The industry believes that owing to the pandemic, Indian companies may be allowed to obtain a compulsory license to make the patented drug here. 

The drug in question was originally developed for Ebola and is said to have significantly improved the condition of 36 critically ill Covid-19 patients out of 53 in a multi-country compassionate use programme. Gilead has said it will ramp up production to up to one million compassionate doses, even before approval. A compassionate use programme allows for drug or medicine that is under clinical trial or hasn't been approved yet, to be used for treating critically ill patients in the absence of alternative medication. 

Gilead holds the patent for the drug in India. 

The Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) has already written to the Health Ministry to revoke the Indian patent on Remdesivir. It has argued that the drug would be unaffordable for patients in India due to the patent and cancer patients were at higher risk of complications from Covid-19 infection.



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