Remdesivir is the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19. It reduces the recovery time of the COVID patient. The MRP of Remdesivir is Rs. 5,400, however, it costs patients around Rs. 7,000 including other charges. Remdesivir is the only drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) treatment of patients hospitalized suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 infection. The companies authorized to manufacture, supplies these products only to the hospitals due to their urgency and shortage.
Hetero Healthcare Ltd is supplying 60,000 vials of Covifor, a generic version of Remdesivir in India from July 13 to 20. It is meant for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, majorly adults, and children that are hospitalized with severe symptoms of the disease. According to the statement made by Hetero Healthcare on June 21, they received the manufacturing approval for the investigation of the antiviral medicine ‘Remdesivir’ from the DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) for the treatment of COVID-19 and it would be marketed under the brand name of ‘COVIFOR’ in India.
The strict vigil has been enforced in various offices to prevent black marketing and sales of Remdesivir above the MRP, by Dr. VG Somani, Drug Controller General of India. Meanwhile, Hetero Group of companies ensured that all the vials of the drugs are directly supplied to the hospitals. If the individual comes to buy the drugs, the vials must be given to the patients only on compassionate grounds and on an emergency basis, with a valid prescription.
Covifor has been launched under a licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc.- the U.S. based pharmaceutical company.
The drug is available in 100mg vials, injectable. It is needed to administer hypodermically under the hospitals, with critical care settings and under the observation of medical practitioners. The major distribution is done in Maharashtra, Delhi, and Telangana, depending on the number of coronavirus patients in the country. Out of 60,000 vials, Maharashtra will get 12,500, Delhi with 10,000 and followed by Telangana with 9,000. The company is working very closely with the government and medical community to make ‘Covifor’ available to each public and private healthcare across the country.
Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka will get 7,500, 6000, 2000, and 3000 respectively while the remaining countries will get 10,000 injections. Hetero supplied the drug to as many as 166 hospitals in Maharashtra and 53 in Delhi.
The launch of Covifor is a significant milestone for all of us. As it helps to reduce the treatment time of the patient in the hospital and thereby decreases the pressure on medical infrastructure, overburdened due to the rise of COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory, which is also in a non-exclusive agreement with Gilead Sciences, to manufacture and market the investigational drug, Remedesivir in 127 countries, including India is yet to get permission from the DCGI to start making the drug in the country.