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MSN Labs launches Favilow, the cheapest Favipiravir drug for COVID-19 at Rs 33 per pill

MSN said it is offering free home delivery of Favilow to patients suffering with mild to moderate COVID-19 across 170 cities.

August 21, 2020 / 08:20 PM IST
 
 
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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.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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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.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Aug 21, 2020 08:20 pm

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