Cipla has entered into a licensing agreement with American pharma company Eli Lilly to expand access to COVID-19 treatment in India. Under the agreement, Cipla has got royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licensing rights for manufacturing and commercialisation of the drug Baricitinib for Covid-19.
"Cipla today announced it has signed a royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Eli Lilly and Company, the USA for the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug Baricitinib for Covid-19 indication," the company said.
Notably, Baricitinib was issued a restricted emergency use approval by the health ministry's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for the use in combination with Remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalised adults requiring supplemental oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
Cipla said it'll leverage its extensive distribution footprint to make this therapy accessible to more patients and markets. "Enabling access to high-quality treatment and medication is core to our purpose of 'Caring for life," Umang Vohra, MD and Global CEO, Cipla Limited, said.
Baricitinib is an oral medication that's currently registered in India for the treatment of moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients. Baricitinib has not been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 but has been authorised for emergency use by the FDA.
Recently, homegrown pharma company Natco Pharma Ltd also received an emergency use approval for Baricitinib tablets of 1mg, 2mg and 4mg strengths from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
India is facing a huge shortage of essential medicines, equipment and medical oxygen as Covid-19 ravages the country. Several countries, including the US, UK, Canada, other EU and Gulf countries, have come out in support, however, patients continue to die due to shortage of essential medicines and medical oxygen across majorly-hit cities like Delhi and Mumbai.