INDIA – Molnupiravir, the cheapest antiviral drug that recently received emergency use approval in India for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19, has been launched at US$18.80 for the full five-day course – about US$ 50 cents capsule, according to a report by The Economic Times.
Molnupiravir 800 mg should be taken twice a day for five days. A patient must take 40 capsules of medication containing 200 mg.
Molnupiravir, developed by MSD and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, has been approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in an emergency situation to treat adult patients who are at high risk of Covid-19 progression.
The pill has also been approved for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults by regulators in Denmark, and the Philippines. Molnupiravir is an antiviral that works by mutagenesis to prevent SARS-CoV-2 replication.
The majority of the companies had signed a non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD) to manufacture and supply Molnupiravir in India and over 100 other low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Molnupiravir will be available in retail stores this week, as companies begin shipping the drug across the country. Meanwhile, several companies launching Merck’s antiviral drug are engaged in a price war.
According to sources, more than a dozen companies, including Natco, MSN, Hetero, Optimus, Aurobindo, Mylan, Strides, Emcure, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Torrent, and Dr Reddy’s are in the process of launching the oral therapy, at prices ranging between US$20.18 and US$ 33.63 for the entire treatment.
Cipla, on the other hand, plans to market Molnupiravir under the brand Cipmolnu. Cipmolnu 200mg capsules will be available soon in leading pharmacies and Covid treatment centers throughout the country.
Dr. Reddy’s has said it will launch its COVID-19 antiviral Molnupiravir capsules under its brand name Molflu across India at matching the price of Mankind Pharma.
Dr Reddy’s led a consortium of pharmaceutical companies that collaborated to jointly sponsor, supervise, and monitor phase III clinical trials in India, and presented its findings to the Subject Expert Committee (SEC).