Favipiravir priced lower in India than in other countries, says Glenmark

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 21, 2020

Drug Controller General of India had sent a notice to Glenmark to explain issues with the drug used in Covid-19 treatment

In response to the Drug Controller General of India’s (DCGI) letter to Indian pharma major Glenmark, the company has stated that Favipiravir in India is priced a notch lower than in other countries.

Favipiravir in India is priced at ₹103 per tablet which is lower than the cost of the drug approved in other countries. In Russia, it costs ₹600 per tab, in Japan it is ₹378 per tab, in Bangladesh ₹350 per tab, in China ₹215 per tab,” Glenmark said in a statement on July 20.

Compared to other therapies approved for emergency use in Covid-19, Favipiravir branded by Glenmark as FabiFlu is much more economical, the company has stated. “While total cost of therapy for the full course of Favipiravir is ₹9,150, Remdesivir ranges between ₹24,000 to ₹30,000, while Tocilizumab costs about ₹44,000, while rates for Itolizumab is close to ₹32,000,” the statement says.

DCGI’s nod to the drug came on June 19. Glenmark manufactures and markets 200 mg tablets of Favipiravir.

On allegations that the drug is unaffordable due to high price, the company said that it slashed the price from ₹103 per tab to ₹75 per tab on July 13. “The price reduction was made possible through our efforts to obtain a better yield and better scale, and with both active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations manufactured at Glenmark’s own facilities in India,” it has said.

Allegation of misleading claim that Favipiravir is effective in Covid-19 patients with co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, Glenmark states, “None of the product promotion literature, summary of product characteristics, or Product Information Leaflet makes any such claim that Favipiravir can be used in mild to moderate Covid-19 patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”

“In February, Favipiravir was used on a compassionate basis in Japan in adult patients of all age groups including with co-morbidities. The report of the registry on Favipiravir published by the Japanese Infectious Disease Society had 2,158 patients across 407 hospitals which included 49 per cent of patients with comorbidities including diabetes and hypertension, while 52 per cent were aged above 60 years. The results showed clinical improvement in 84.5 per cent and 87.8 per cent patients with Favipiravir in moderate and mild Covid-19 patients. The 88 per cent clinical improvement mentioned is derived from the published Japanese clinical use in a large cohort of over 2,100 patients,” it said.

Glenmark also denies having made any claim at any point that Favipiravir alone is effective in treatment of Covid-19 patients. Patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms were treated with Favipiravir plus recommended standard supportive care versus standard supportive care alone, it said. “The standard supportive care did not include Hydroxychloroquine. Since both arms of the Glenmark study received standard supportive care, any advantage observed in the treatment arm can solely be attributed to administration of Favipiravir. Concerns raised that FabiFlu was not tested as a monotherapy are misplaced,” it says.

Published on July 21, 2020

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