Pune-based pharmaceutical marketing company Brinton Pharmaceuticals is gearing up to export anti-viral drug favipiravir to 18 countries and awaiting approval from the Indian drug controller to launch the drug in India. Favipiravir is under trial in many countries as a potential treatment for Covid-19, and in India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is conducting the trials that have entered phase 3.
After the trials are over in India, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is likely to give the nod to market the drug here which was originally developed by Japan's Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Corporation. The drug is not yet part of the treatment protocol for Covid-19 here, but sources claim that it is on the list of the most promising drugs for treating the new coronavirus by the task force here.
Speaking to Business Standard, Rahul Kumar Darda, chairman and managing director of Brinton Pharma said that Hyderabad-based Optimus Pharma is making the drug for them. "Fujifilm is supplying the intermediate of the drug to Optimus, which is making the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for the drug. They will also supply the formulation to us, which we will export to countries like Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Canada, Caribbean etc," Darda said.
Brinton has a stock of about 100,000 tablets ready to export.ALSO READ: Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine, first to be tested in US, appears safe: Study
As for the pricing, Darda said that for countries like Nepal the drug is being priced around Rs 2,500 per strip of ten tablets. A patient would need a course of 14-days or roughly around 20 tablets or so, making the cost of therapy Rs 5,000. "When the drug gets launched in India eventually, the prices are expected to be lower," Darda said.
Favipiravir sells under the brand name Avigan and is an approved medication to treat influenza. Brinton will market the drug under the brand Faviton and it will be available in 200 mg and 400 mg tablets.
Darda said that Fujifilm's patent for the drug was over last year and that the company itself was supplying the drug for trials in 60 countries across the globe. Once the Indian trials are over, pharma majors like Glenmark and Cipla are expected to get into manufacturing and selling the drug here. Darda said that the trials in Wuhan province of China on the drug have shown positive results in patients suffering from Covid19, demonstrating improvement in lung condition.