Alembic says enough capacity to meet rising demand for azithromycin

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on March 27, 2020

Drug maker Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd has informed that the company has enough capacity to meet the demand arising from the emergency situation following the spread of Covid-19.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Pranav Amin, MD, Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd, said, “We are seeing increased demand for the product. And we are ramping up the production capacity to 20 tonnes per month immediately. This should be sufficient considering the current demand, but if needed, we can expand the capacity further as we have flexible capacity.”

Amin, however, flagged that there were some issues in movement of raw material and finished products. “With everything being under lockdown, getting the materials is becoming an issue. They don’t move faster.”

Raw materials

For the major raw materials, the company is sourcing them locally and has sufficient stock to meet its immediate requirements. “For the other raw materials such as solvents and other minor requirements, we are trying to workout with the government to allow transporters to ensure hassle-free supplies,” Amin said, adding that there is no disruption due to Covid-19 spread in China and US on the raw material supplies.

In India, Alembic is the largest player in the estimated ₹550-crore per month of azithromycin market with approx 30 per cent market share. The company makes the anti-biotic at its Panelav facility.

The anti-biotic azithromycin in combination of hydroxychloroquine is being tried in the US and parts of Europe to treat coronavirus.

“Cure for Covid-19 is still some time away. We are hearing of different products being tried for it. Azithromycin and hydroxichloroquin both are old established products,” he said. The company has been supplying azithromycin active pharmaceutical ingredients to patent provider Pfizer for over 10 years.

Alembic is also planning to launch generic azithromycin drug in the US markets in a month. “This is a big opportunity for us. We are aiming for US launch in next one month or so. We have our own front-end for marketing products in the US, so we do everything on our own there,” he added.

Earlier in January this year, the company received final approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) for its abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) for Azithromycin tablets USP, 250 mg and 500 mg.

Azithromycin tablets have an estimated market size of $129 million for 12 months ended September 2019 according to IQVIA.

Published on March 27, 2020

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