Glenmark drug for mild Covid patients hits market, priced at Rs 103 a pill

India is adding over 12,000 cases of Covid-19 positive patients everyday
Oral antiviral drug favipiravir, which is used to treat patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infection, will now be available in the Indian market under the brand name FabiFlu at Rs 103 per tablet. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals secured the drug regulator’s nod on Friday to manufacture and market the drug in India.  

The drug has shown promise in multiple global studies, with reduction in viral load, faster fever resolution, and faster clinical recovery. 

In India, the drug will be sold at retail chemist outlets as well as hospitals. This is an emergency use authorisation due to the pandemic situation prevalent in the country and the need for timely treatment. 

Whenever a doctor prescribes favipiravir, he would have to do so with an “informed consent” from the patient. Patients with a valid prescription can procure the drug from retail chemists, as many of them may not need hospitalisation. 
Sujesh Vasudevan, president (India formulations), Middle East and Africa, Glenmark, said the drug would be made at the company's Baddi facility in Himachal. The firm will also make the active pharmaceutical ingredients for the drug. “It will be available in areas close to our manufacturing site immediately, and we expect to make it available across the country within this week,” Vasudevan said. 


Commenting on whether he thought the price of the tablet was high at Rs 103, Vasudevan reasoned that the drug would ensure that a patient recovered faster and did not slip into a severe stage of the disease that might require hospitalisation. 
India is adding over 12,000 cases of Covid-19 daily.

About 70-80 per cent of these are mild to moderately sick people. That means the potential market for the drug is roughly over 9,000 users a day. 

Industry sources, however, indicate that several players are ready to launch their version of favipiravir in the market and that the prices will come down soon. 

Already companies like Optimus Pharma and Brinton Pharma have started commercially exporting the drug from here. 

Glenmark's net debt was over Rs 3,600 crore at the end of the March quarter. FabiFlu may give a decent push to its domestic business. 

While the company said it would first cater to the domestic market requirements, it added that exports would depend on the regulatory requirements of other countries.
The potential is significant -- the drug is to be used in Turkey, it is already available in Bangladesh, approval granted in the UAE, while the protocol is approved in Jordan. More than 15 companies are under the registration approval process to launch the drug in Egypt. 

Indonesia and Thailand have approved clinical protocol, several CIS countries like Ukraine have adopted it in Covid-19 protocol, and Iraq and Saudi Arabia are evaluating the drug. 

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