Joining the long list of firms to launch its own brand of oral antiviral drug favipiravir, Hyderabad's Hetero on Wednesday said that it would market the drug under Favivir brand priced at Rs 59 per tablet.
Hetero has priced its brand in between Glenmark's FabiFlu (Rs 79 per tablet) and the yet to be launched Cipla's Ciplenza (around Rs 68 per tablet). Glenmark was the first to launch the drug. Hetero Healthcare would distribute the brand and it is available from today at all retail medical outlets and hospital pharmacies across the country and will be sold only on prescription.
Already a host of other favipiravir brands have hit the market including smaller firms like Jenburkt Pharma, most of whom have priced it competitively. Jenburkt's brand Favivent comes for Rs 39 per tablet.
More than half a dozen favipiravir brands are in market now and the innovator brand Avigan will be launched by Dr Reddy's Laboratories in August. DRL has remained tight-lipped about the pricing.
The pricing pressure in this category is already visible as Glenmark revised its original price (Rs 103 per tablet) to Rs 79 per tablet within a month of the launch.
A Mumbai-based analyst felt that while Glenmark had the first-mover advantage, the favipiravir opportunity for the firm would not be more than Rs 50 crore given the stiff competition. He added that the rush to launch the drug is because the companies feel it would continue to see traction being an oral drug that can be taken at home.
In June the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the use of favipiravir – an antiviral drug developed in Japan and commonly used for treating influenza – for the treatment of mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 in India. Favipiravir is a broad spectrum anti-viral agent and selectively inhibits RNA polymerase of influenza virus and prevents viral replication.