MSN Laboratories, on Friday (August 21) launched the cheapest antiviral drug Favipiravir used in treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients.
The Hyderabad-based company's Favipiravir version sold under brand name Favilow is priced at Rs 33 per tablet of 200 mg dosage. MSN's Favilow is two rupees cheaper than Sun Pharma's Favipiravir tablet which is priced at Rs 35.
As of now, a COVID-19 patient has to take 122 tablets 200-mg dosage of Favipiravir for 14 days. Favipiravir price has dropped close to 70 percent in less than two months, as more than a dozen companies have launched the medication.
With mounting competition, MSN said it is offering free home delivery of Favilow to patients suffering with mild to moderate COVID-19 across 170 cities.
“Our efforts to come up with home delivery of the medicine are to help the patients with easy availability. Our teams are actively working with pharmacies across the country to make this feat possible,” said Dr MSN Reddy, CMD of MSN Group.
MSN said it will soon be launching Favilow 400 mg in the market to reduce the pill burden. Currently Glenmark has 400 mg version.
Favipiravir, a broad-spectrum antiviral, was originally developed by Toyama Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Japanese drugmaker Fujifilm. The drug was approved in Japan in 2014. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, doctors in China and Russia have started using it to treat COVID-19 patients.
The Drug Controller General of India in June approved the use of Glenmark's Favipiravir version for restricted emergency use in mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.
The increase in acceptance of the drug among doctors and rising COVID-19 cases are pushing pharma companies to boost Favipiravir production.
India has reported 2.27 million COVID-19 cases, and 54,849 deaths so far. The cases are rising at a fast pace in the country - more than 60,000 a day - with most cases coming from smaller towns and villages.
Pharma companies that are quick to spot the trend have jumped into the race to launch Favipiravir. More than a dozen drugmakers including the big ones such as Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's, Cipla, Lupin and Alkem have launched generic versions of Favipiravir so far, and many more are in line to launch the drug.
As part of the COVID 19 treatment range, MSN has already launched Oseltamivir 75 mg capsules, another anti-viral medication.