Coronavirus: Zydus Cadila launches cheapest version of Remdesivir in India
In a major development, Zydus Cadila has launched the cheapest generic version of Remdesivir, the antiviral drug being used to treat COVID-19, in India. The move from the pharma giant comes in a bid to address complaints of shortages and ensure a sufficient supply of the life-saving drug across hospitals witnessing a surge in patients infected by the deadly disease. Here's more about it.
Remdac, priced just under Rs. 3,000
Officially dubbed Remdac, the new Remdesivir drug has been priced at Rs. 2,800 for a single 100 mg lyophilized injection. Now, while this might still seem expensive to many, it is actually the most economical brand of Remdesivir available in the Indian market. Prior to this, the most affordable option came at Rs. 4,000 per vial from Cipla.
Drug will be made available across private, government hospitals
Zydus Cadila plans to use its strong distribution network to make Remdac available across all private and government hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. "Remdac is the most affordable drug as we would like to enable patients to have access to this critical drug in the treatment of COVID 19," Dr. Sharvil Patel, the Managing Director of the group said in a statement.
Remdesivir has proven effective against COVID-19 in trials
Over the past few months, Remdesivir, developed by US giant Gilead Sciences, has shown promise in helping patients with COVID-19 recover quickly. In early US trials, the drug was able to reduce the recovery time of sick patients by 4 days, following which the FDA and Drug Controller General of India gave the approval for its emergency use under a strict protocol.
5 companies, including Zydus, currently making Remdesivir
Gilead has since given voluntary license for the production and selling of Remdesivir to at least 5 companies - Cipla, Jubilant Life Sciences, Hetero Drugs, Mylan N.V., and Zydus Cadila. Cipla's 100mg Remdesivir, as mentioned, is priced at Rs. 4,000, Jubilant is selling it at Rs. 4,700, while Mylan and Hetero have priced their generic variants at Rs. 4,800 and Rs. 5,400, respectively.
Zydus is also trialling a COVID-19 vaccine
Along with the affordable drug, Zydus Cadila is also conducting Phase-2 human trials with a plasmid DNA COVID-19 vaccine called ZyCoV-D. The shot is one of the two made-in-India candidates (the other one is from Bharat Biotech) that are moving through clinical trials and is expected to become available sometime in the first half of 2021.
"Efforts focused on supporting people"
Dr. Patel added, "Through the course of this pandemic, our efforts have been focused on supporting people in this healthcare crisis, whether it's through developing vaccines, ramping up production and distribution of critical drugs and therapies, making diagnostic tests available or exploring new treatment options."