Hyderabad-based Hetero Labs Ltd has priced its generic version of remdesivir, Gilead's experimental COVID-19 drug, at Rs 5,400 ($71) per 100-milligram vial, the drug maker said on Wednesday, as it prepares to ship them to hospitals in the country. The privately held company said it would supply 20,000 vials of the drug. Fellow drug firm Cipla Ltd had said on Tuesday that its own version of the antiviral drug remdesivir would be priced below Rs 5,000.
Cipla and Hetero are among a bevy of drugmakers which have licensing agreements with US-based Gilead Sciences Inc, the original manufacturer of remdesivir, to make and sell the drug in 127 low- and middle-income countries. Regulator Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the generic versions made by Cipla and Hetero for restricted emergency use in severe COVID-19 cases.
The treatment was the first to show improvement in trials on COVID-19 patients and has won approval for emergency use in severely ill patients in the United States and South Korea, and received full approval in Japan. It is yet to be priced in the United States. India, the fourth worst hit nation by the coronavirus, reported a total of 456,183 infections and 14,476 deaths on Wednesday.