Though various states are still under captive to the lockdown measures due to Covid-19, the cases around India continue to increase in alarming numbers. As of today, there are 821K confirmed cases and as many as 22,123 people have snuffed out their lives to this pandemic. Despite the struggles, a ray of light has been passed through The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). They have approved two highly touted antiviral drugs for the treatment for Covid-19 patients in the country – Remdesivir, and Favipiravir.
Let’s get into a detailed picture of these prescribed medications
Hetero set to launch its generic version of Gilead’s Remdesivir
Covifor the generic version of Gilead’s Remdesivir, which the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved for “restricted emergency use” on severely ill hospitalised coronavirus patients. The drug regulator has given approval to Hyderabad-based Hetero to manufacture and sell its generic version of Remdesivir under the name ‘Covifor’ within the country. Another domestic pharma company Cipla has also received the DCGI nod to manufacture the antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19 patients within the country.
According to officials at Hetero, Covifor are going to be available in 100 mg vial (injectable) form which can cost between ₹5,000 and ₹6,000. Imported remdesivir costs as much as Rs 10,000 per dose. This means once Covifor hits the market, COVID-19 treatment with this drug will cost less than 30,000 per patient. A COVID-19 patient could also be given around 5 to six doses of Covifor, consistent with the present Indian government guidelines. However, Covifor are going to be given intravenously during a hospital setting under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner and only after getting the consent of the patients, said the DCGI guidelines.
As it is merely permitted under “restricted emergency use,” Covifor will only be made available to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. Also, the drug isn’t recommended for pregnant or lactating mother, children below age of 12 years and other people with liver problems and renal complications.
Hetero is likely to start supply of the drug in a week, the company officials told a leading national daily.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Gets DCGI Nod To Sell Fabiflu
Fabiflu is another antiviral which will hit the Indian market soon. it’ll be used for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients within the country.
Domestic firm Glenmark Pharmaceuticals recently received nod from the DGCI to manufacture and market oral antiviral Favipiravir, under the name “FabiFlu”, in India consistent with Glenmark, the prescription-based drug are going to be available as a 200 mg tablet at an MRP of ₹3,500 for a strip of 34 tablets, i.e. Rs 103 per tablet. The drugs are going to be administered orally to mild to moderate COVID-19 patient – 1,800 mg twice daily on day one, followed by 800 mg twice daily for up to day 14.
Unlike Covifor, FabiFlu are going to be available both through hospitals and therefore the retail channel. Glenmark is developing the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for the drug at its Ankleshwar plant in Gujarat, and therefore the formulation is being manufactured at its Baddi plant in Himachal Pradesh. Glenmark is getting to provide FabiFlu for about 82,500 patients within the first month itself.
According to the drug manufacturer, Favipiravir administration has resulted in clinical improvement of up to 88 per cent in mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. The drug are majorly used for coronavirus patients with co-morbid conditions like diabetes and heart condition with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, it said.
Glenmark was the primary company in India to receive DGCI ‘s approval to conduct phase-3 clinical test of Favipiravir antiviral tablets for COVID-19 patients.
Although the drugs have been approved by the concerned government body, many experts have raised concerns on its efficacy, and have urged caution vis-a-vis their ‘game-changer’ label.
“It is not as if all those taking these drugs will recover. It has been found that they help reduce viral load but are not game-changers. But yes, it is a positive development as it is better to have something in hand than nothing. There is also a psychological impact that something is being given which could have some benefit,” Dr Vikas Maurya, Director, Department of Pulmonology and Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh told PTI.