Hetero gets DCGI nod to launch new potential COVID-19 drug ‘Covifor’

The drug will be available only through hospitals and government, and not the retail channe

The product is being launched under a licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc to expand access to COVID-19 treatment in low and middle-income countries

Following the approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to launch investigational antiviral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19, India-based pharma company Hetero on Sunday (June 21) said a generic version of Remdesivir, Covifor will be marketed for the treatment of COVID-19 in India.

“The company has received the manufacturing and marketing approval for Remdesivir from the DCGI for the treatment of COVID-19,” it said in a statement.

“The drug will be available in 100 mg vial (injectable) which has to be administered intravenously in a hospital setting under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner,” it said.

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Asked about the price of the drug, Hetero Group of Companies MD Vamsi Krishna Bandi told PTI it will be in the range of ₹5,000-6,000 per dose.

“Currently, the drug is being manufactured at the company’s formulation facility in Hyderabad. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is being made in the firm’s Visakhapatnam facility,” he added.

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“The drug will be available only through hospitals and government, and not the retail channel,” Vamsi said.

“The company is focused on providing one lakh doses in the next few weeks, and the production can be ramped up based on demand,” he added.

“The drug has been granted approval by DCGI for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in adults and children, hospitalised with severe symptoms of the disease,” the company said.

“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.

Backed by strong backward integration capabilities, we can ensure that the product is immediately made available to patients across the country,” Hetero Group of Companies Chairman B Partha Saradhi Reddy said.

“The company is prepared for ensuring enough stocks to cater to the present needs,” he added.

The product is being launched under a licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc to expand access to COVID-19 treatment in low and middle-income countries, Hetero said.

In May, domestic pharma firms Hetero, Cipla and Jubilant Life Sciences had entered into non-exclusive licensing agreements with drug major Gilead Sciences Inc for manufacturing and distribution of Remdesivir.

Related news: Private labs cut COVID-19 testing costs after government’s intervention

The medicine has been issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to treat COVID-19 patients.

Domestic pharma firm Glenmark Pharmaceuticals had on Saturday launched antiviral drug Favipiravir, under the brand name FabiFlu, for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 at a price of about ₹103 per tablet.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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