Having received the manufacturing and marketing approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), drug firm Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has launched antiviral drug Favipiravir, under the brand name FabiFlu, for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. Price at ₹103 per tablet, the prescription-based drug will be available as a 200 mg tablet at an MRP of ₹3,500 for a strip of 34 tablets.
10 things to know about the new Covid-19 drug:
- The recommended dose of Favipiravir is 1,800 mg twice daily on day one, followed by 800 mg twice daily up to day 14. It is a prescription-based medicine.
- The drug will be available both through hospitals and the retail channel, Glenmark said.
- Dr Rommel Tickoo, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare, said the drug could be a “potential game-changer”. “We don’t have much data, but whatever data we have shows that it is promising. We will have clearer information about the efficacy of the drug in the next two months. The preliminary report is promising which means that they (Glenmark) know that it works,” he told PTI. “It has to be given at an early stage and is a potential game-changer as it can be given in tablet form and thus is easy to administer, and is relatively inexpensive,” he said.
- Glenmark is producing the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for the drug at its Ankleshwar plant, while the formulation is being manufactured at its Baddi plant.
- Favipiravir can be used for coronavirus patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, Glenmark said.
- It offers a rapid reduction in viral load within four days and provides faster symptomatic and radiological improvement. Favipiravir has shown clinical improvement of up to 88 per cent in mild to moderate COVID-19 cases, the drug manufacturer said.
- Favipiravir is backed by strong clinical evidence, showing encouraging results in patients with mild to moderate Covid-19. It offers broad-spectrum RNA virus coverage with clinical improvement noted in 20-90 plus age group.
- Glenmark was the first company in India to receive the drug regulator’s approval to conduct a phase-3 clinical trial of Favipiravir antiviral tablets for Covid-19 patients.
- Favipiravir is a generic version of Avigan of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, Japan, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Corporation.
- Considering a minimum of two strips per patient, Glenmark will be able to provide FabiFlu for about 82,500 patients in the first month itself.
Glenmark is the first company to come out with an oral antiviral drug for mild and moderate Covid-19 treatment.
Favipiravir has been used in Russia, Japan and China to treat such patients and has been proved successful.
At the moment the drug will be under restricted use, which means it can be consumed only under doctor’s guidance and supervision. People without prescription cannot buy it.