Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has just launched the cheapest brand of oral antiviral drug Favipiravir in India – FluGuard and priced at just Rs. 35, this is so far the cheapest tablet available in the market.
Doctors use favipiravir for the treatment of mild to moderate cases of COVID19 in India. It is the only oral antiviral drug treatment approved in India for the potential treatment of patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID19. It works by preventing the virus from replicating in cells.
Anti-viral drugs don’t kill a virus, but instead, limit the production of new viruses in host cells. For most people, the best these treatments can do is shorten the duration of the illnesses and lessen complications. Since the coronavirus that causes COVID19 is new, there is limited evidence regarding specific anti-virals that may work against it. Doctors and scientists are looking at existing and experimental anti-virals to find effective treatments for the new disease.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had approved for the use of Favipiravir in June. This antiviral drug was developed in Japan and is commonly used for treating influenza, and now for COVID19. In Japan, favipiravir was being used for the novel or re-emerging influenza viruses when other anti-viral drugs don’t work. The drug was studied in a Japanese trial for ixodid tick-borne infectious disease and serious fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Favipiravir was administered to COVID19 patients in Japan around the end of February 2020. According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, over 2,000 people in Japan had been treated with this as part of clinical trials as of April 26, 2020.
Sun Pharma CEO of India Business, Kirti Ganorkar, highlighted the urgent need to provide more treatment options to healthcare professionals. He said they launched FluGuard at an economical price to make the drug accessible to more and more patients, thereby reducing their financial burden.
With no sign of the COVID19 slowing down, pharma companies have taken it upon themselves to produce antiviral drugs. As such, there are now more than half a dozen favipiravir brands have hit the market. And this month, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will be launching its innovator brand Avigan, but it has been mum about the pricing