In wake of rising demand for antiviral drug Remdesivir used for coronavirus treatment, homegrown drug major Cipla has ramped up its capacity and that of its partner network to fill the demand-supply gap. Last month, the company launched the generic version of Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug Remdesivir under its brand name 'CIPREMI'.
"Our first batch of Remdesivir vials was supplied to hospitals and distributors across India, especially in the regions with high burden of COVID-19 cases. However given the spike in cases, the demand has increased manifold," Cipla said in a statement. "We expect this demand-supply gap to normalised in the next few weeks."
In June, Cipla introduced Remdesivir under the brand name 'CIPREMI' after receiving approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for "restricted emergency use" on adult and paediatric patients hospitalised with suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection. The company has priced the antiviral drug Remdesivir at Rs 4,000 per vial. A patient would need five vials of the drug.
Remdesivir, which is the first treatment to show improvement in COVID-19 trials, is the only United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)-approved Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) medication for patients hospitalised with coronavirus on oxygen support. It has been approved for emergency use in case of severely-ill patients in the United States, India and South Korea.
In May, Hyderbad-based drug firm Hetero and Cipla entered into non-exclusive licensing agreements with US-based drug major Gilead Sciences Inc for manufacturing and distribution of Remdesivir. Apart from Hetero and Cipla, Gilead also inked pacts with Jubilant Life Sciences and Mylan NV to manufacture and sale of Remdesivir in India.
Since the drug has proved efficient in dealing with COVID-19, Gilead signed agreements with four more pharma companies - Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Biocon' subsidiary Syngene International, Zydus Cadila, and Egypt-based Eva Pharma Pvt - to make and market Remdesivir.
India on Monday reported 28,701 coronavirus cases in just 24 hours, pushing the tally to 8,78,274, according to the Health Ministry. The death toll climbed to 23,174 with 500 new fatalities on Monday. The number of recoveries stands at 5,53,470, while there are 3,01,609 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country, the data showed. Around 63 per cent of patients have recovered from coronavirus in India. During the last 24 hours, 18,850 COVID-19 patients have been discharged.
By Chitranjan Kumar