NEW DELHI: Drugmaker Glenmark on Thursday said it will launch a higher strength (400 mg) version of oral antiviral drug favipiravir, a medicine granted emergency use authorization by the country's drug regulator to treat mild to moderate Covid-19 patients.
Favipiravir is manufactured by Fujifilm by the brand name Avigan and has been in use in Japan since 2014 to treat novel influenza virus.
In India, Glenmark launched the generic version of the drug under the brand name FabiFlu in June and received the EUA by the Drug Controller General of India.
The drug was available in 200 mg dosage thus far and since the recommended dose was 1,800 mg twice daily on day one, followed by 800 mg twice daily up to day 14, it meant patients needed to pop 18 pills on the first day after which they needed 8 tablets every day for the next 13 days.
The full course of the treatment earlier cost about Rs 12,500 and though the number of tablets required in the new regimen will be reduced by half, it's not clear how much it will cost per patient.
“The higher strength will improve patient compliance and experience, by effectively reducing the number of tablets that patients require per day,” the company said in a statement.
A higher pill burden has been associated with lower adherence to therapy, the latter affecting viral suppression and overall treatment outcomes, it added.
“Also reducing the pill burden has been a demand from doctors and patients to enable adherence,” said Glenmark.
The pharma company has also started a post-marketing study on FabiFlu to closely monitor the efficacy and safety of the drug in a large pool of patients prescribed with the oral antiviral Favipiravir, as part of an open-label, multi-center, single-arm study.
“Glenmark is also conducting another phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of two antivirals drugs Favipiravir and Umifenovir as a combination therapy in moderate hospitalized adult Covid-19 patients in India,” said the firm.