Cipla, a pharmaceutical giant announced on Wednesday that it has launched the antiviral drug “remdesivir” in generic form, named “Cipremi”, at the price of Rs. 4,000 per vial, which is one of the lowest price globally, and Cipla plans to supply over 80,000 vials within the first month.
Executive Vice-President and CEO (India Business) of Cipla, Mr. Nikhil Chopra, stated in an e-mailed statement, “We are proud to commercially launch Cipremi today (on Wednesday); amongst the lowest priced globally, and aim to supply over 80,000 vials within the first month itself”. He also mentioned that “Cipla will also be donating some amount of the drug as part of its efforts to support the community in this time of need”.
Cipremi has got approval by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for restricted emergency use, as a part of speeded-up approval process keeping in mind the urgent medical need. To ensure equitable distribution, the drug will be available through government and hospital channels only, told Mr. Nikhil Chopra.
Another pharmaceutical major Mylan NV and Hyderbad-based firm Hetero have also stated that teir generic versions of remdesivir will be priced at Rs. 4,800 and Rs. 5,400 respectively.
Remdesivir is currently the sole approved Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) treatment by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
As remdesivir is currently the only major approved treatment for COVID-19, more Indian pharmaceuticals firms are expected to launch competing versions of remdesivir, which as originally priced around Rs. 30,000 by its developer Gilead Sciences Inc.
During May, pharma firms Hetero, Cipla and Jubilant Life Sciences have formed a non-exclusive licensing agreements with drug major Gilead Sciences Inc. for the purpose of manufacturing and distribution of remdesivir.