Covid antiviral pill launched at Rs 1,399 for full 5-day course
MUMBAI: Molnupiravir, the antiviral drug which recently got emergency use approval for treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in India, was launched on Monday at Rs 1,399 for the full five-day course, making it one of the cheapest antiviral coronavirus therapies during the pandemic.
Over a dozen companies, including Hetero, Sun Pharma, Natco and Dr Reddy’s are in the process of rolling out the oral therapy developed by Merck and and its partner, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, at prices ranging between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500 for the complete treatment, sources told TOI. The antiviral pill is being considered a potential gamechanger globally in Covid treatment as remdesivir used till now is administered intravenously, and in hospital settings.
Mankind Pharma, which has tied up with BDR Pharmaceuticals. introduced its antiviral Molulife (200 mg) in Delhi and certain other parts of the country on Monday, a company official said. Further, Sun Pharma has priced the antiviral at around Rs 1,500 for the full course, and is making its ‘Molxvir’ available in markets where there are more cases, and gradually across India.
The recommended dose of molnupiravir is 800 mg twice a day for five days. Given the stiff competition among the market players, the treatment cost will remain competitive and affordable for patients, experts said. Molnupiravir, is also the first oral anti-Covid pill approved by UK’s drug regulator, while recently the US Food and Drug Administration cleared it for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults, and for those who are at a high risk for progression to severe disease, including hospitalisation or death.
Post the USFDA nod, Drugs Controller General of India granted permission for restricted use of molnupiravir for treatment of adult patients with SpO2 93%, and who have high risk of progression of the disease.
Earlier in June, MSD signed licensing agreements with five generic companies including Sun Pharma, Cipla, Torrent, Emcure and Dr Reddy’s to manufacture and supply molnupiravir in India, and to over 100 low and middle-income countries.