Hyderabad-based Hetero will launch remdesivir, an injectable drug from Gilead, to treat hospitalised Covid-19 patients within this week. The company will first make the drug available in the main disease burden areas of Maharashtra and Delhi under the brand Covifor.
A single dose vial is likely to cost between Rs 5,000-6000, the company said. The exact pricing will be disclosed this week, said Vamsi Krishna Bandi, managing director of the Hetero Group of Companies.
“We think we will take a call on the pricing by tomorrow or the day after. It would be between Rs 5,000-6,000 for a dose,” he added.
Hetero has been exporting to some countries in Africa apart from some Asian countries. “Some stock made for exports will be diverted to rise up to the national emegency,” Bandi said.
Hetero will start production for the Indian market from this week. It received the approval for the Indian market from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) late on Saturday.
In a week to ten days, more stock would be available for India market. “In the next two to three weeks Hetero can supply a hundred thousand vials for the Indian market,” Bandi noted.
By the end of June a clear picture on will emerge on demand in the domestic market, the company said.
Industry sources estimate that at least 10,000 patients need the drug urgently in the areas with high case load.
Maharashtra has been keen on procuring the drug for its patients. On Friday, the state health minister said that two companies Hetero and Cipla had received the nod from the drug regulator to make and market remdesivir.
Cipla, however, did not comment on the same. Sources, however, indicate that the company might make an announcement on its plans for remdesivir and has also received the nod from the regulator.
Remdesivir will be used only on hospitalised patients and would be sold through the hospital channel only. It would not be available through the retail channel.
“We will not dump the drug in the private market. We will calibrate based on the patient load,” Bandi said. He added that state governments, medical colleges as well as private hospitals had shown interest in buying remdesivir.
[splco_quote]The patient would need to sign a consent form as remdesivir has been given a restricted emergency use authorisation by the drug regulator for compassionate use on patients.[/splco_quote]
Remdesivir has not been approved as the treatment for Covid-19. It is a repurposed Ebola drug that is shows promise in treating patients with the infection as it reduces the viral load and enhances the recovery process.
Gilead signed voluntary license agreements with a handful of companies in India to manufacture and market the drug.
The companies are free to price the drug here and the 127 markets where they can sell the drug.
Bandi said that the licensees will submit further stability and toxicology data to the DCGI in 60-days. At present the product has been given a shelf life of 90-days. After the next set of data is submitted, the shelf like can be enhanced.
Meanwhile, Glenmark too, received an approval for oral antiviral drug favipiravir on Friday that it will sell under the brand FabiFlu in India. Favipiravir is targeted at patients showing mild symptoms of Covid-19.