Pharma players race to launch anti-Covid pill
Homegrown pharma majors Sun Pharma, Cipla, Hetero and Torrent on Tuesday announced plans to market their versions of antiviral drug Molnupiravir to treat high-risk adult patients with COVID-19 across India shortly.
The companies have received approvals from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to manufacture and market their versions of anti-Covid pill Molnupiravir for restricted use in emergency situation (EUA) in India.
The companies said they planned to market the capsules under their respective brands and make them available at all leading pharmacies and COVID-treatment centres across the country.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries said it will market its Molnupiravir capsules under the brand name 'Molxvir' in India, while Mumbai-based Cipla will sell it under the brand name 'Cipmolnu'.
Hyderabad-based Hetero will market the product under the 'Movfor' brand and Torrent Pharma introduced it under the brand name 'Molnutor' in India.
"Our endeavour is to make the product available in a week's time," Sun Pharma CEO of India Business Kirti Ganorkar said in a statement.
Stating that Molnupiravir is an important addition to the portfolio of oral therapies available for treating COVID-19 patients, he said, "In line with our consistent efforts to accelerate access to new drugs for COVID-19 treatment, we will make Molxvir available to patients at an affordable price."
On the production plans, Ganorkar said, "Currently, the plan is to manufacture molnupiravir at one of our big plants in India, and if there is a need, we can ramp up capacity."
Sun Pharma is also in the process of launching a toll-free helpline to ensure the availability of Molxvir to doctors and patients across India.
Cipla said it will soon make available Cipmolnu 200 mg capsules at all leading pharmacies and Covid-treatment centres across the country.
The company has adequate manufacturing capacities and a solid distribution mechanism in place to ensure speedy access to this effective treatment pan India, it added.
"This launch is yet another step in our endeavour to enable access to all treatments in COVID care," Cipla Ltd MD and Global CEO Umang Vohra said.
Stating that the approval by the authorities consolidates India's efforts to address the world's greatest health threat COVID-19, Hetero Group of Companies Chairman B Partha Saradhi Reddy said, "This improving access to critical medicines will always remain the highest of priorities to us."
Hetero said it will market the capsule under the brand Movfor and will be produced at its facilities at Telangana and Himachal Pradesh.
"Hetero's Movfor will be made available in a 40 capsule pack (200 mg per capsule) and will be marketed by its associate company 'Hetero Healthcare' in India with the support of its strong distribution network across the country," it added.
Likewise, Ahmedabad-based Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd said it is introducing Molnupiravir under the brand name Molnutor in India.
We are pleased to partner with MSD to bring Molnupiravir to patients across India. Molnupiravir will be an important addition to our healthcare system's ammunition in the fight against Covid-19," Torrent Pharma (Executive Director India) Aman Mehta said.
Earlier this year, these companies had signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with MSD to manufacture and supply the generic version of molnupiravir in over 100 low and middle-income countries (LMICs), including India.
The DCGI, based on the review of clinical data of Molnupiravir has approved it for treatment of adult patients with Covid-19, with SpO2 less than 93 per cent and who have high risk of progression of the disease including hospitalisation or death.