Three drugs to target India coronavirus pandemic


Three medicines are hitting the market in India as approved treatments for COVID-19.

Of the three drugs, Fabiflu, which is in the market at Rs 103 ($1.36) a tablet, has been approved for treatment of mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

The other two, Covifor and Cipremi, are generic versions of the drug Remdesivir, the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved emergency treatment for adult and pediatric patients hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

Fabiflu is Mumbai-based company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals’ brand name for the antiviral drug Farvirapir, which has been approved in Japan since 2014 for treating viral influenzas.

“Fabiflu has demonstrated an encouraging response in mild to moderate COVID-19 patients during clinical trials,” Glenn Saldanha, chairman and managing director of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, was quoted as saying in a press statement. “Moreover, it is orally administered, and so it serves as a more convenient treatment option over other intravenously administered medications.”

The Drug Controller General of India has also given Hyderabad-headquartered Hetero and Mumbai-headquartered Cipla manufacturing and marketing approval for Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19.

Hetero’s generic version of Remdesivir will be called Covifor. Cipla’s version will be called Cipremi.

Dr B Partha Saradhi Reddy, chairman, Hetero Group of Companies, said in a statement: “In the light of increasing COVID-19 cases in India, the approval of Covifor (Remdesivir) can prove to be a game-changer given its positive clinical outcomes.”

Remdesivir has been launched in India under licensing agreements with Foster City, California headquartered Gilead Sciences Inc to expand access to COVID-19 treatment in low and middle-income countries.

Umang Vohra, MD and global CEO, Cipla Limited, said: “Cipla appreciates the strong partnership with Gilead to bring Remdesivir to patients in India. We have been deeply invested in exploring all possible avenues to save millions of lives impacted by COVID-19 pandemic, and this launch is a significant milestone in that direction.”

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