Discord between IMA and MSN Labs over promotion of COVID-19 drug, Favilow
The doctors’ body claims misuse of its identity in the drug’s promotion while the pharma firm asserts that it has email expressing support from the former
A dispute has ensued between the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and MSN Laboratories over the use of the association’s identify to promote the pharma firm’s COVID-19 drug, Favilow.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) plans to issue a show cause letter to the Hyderabad-based pharma company for the same.
For the brand promotional activity of its COVID-19 treatment drug ‘Favilow’ (Favipiravir), the company has mentioned ‘with active support of IMA’ in its marketing literature.
Commenting on the issue, Dr Rajan Sharma, National President, IMA said, “We strongly deny our partnership with the said pharma company (MSN Laboratories). We have received a proposal from the company offering their Favilow drug free of cost to our COVID-19 affected frontline healthcare workers. However, based on internal discussions amongst the association’s ethics committee members, we refused the company’s proposal and communicated it to them as well.”
He continued, “Although we do collaborate with companies, we do not get into price wars. In the last few months, we have received so many such proposals from hand sanitisers manufacturers, but we refused to give our support to them as well.
“There are so many pharma companies who have already launched the favipiravir drug with their brand names. In such a scenario, how can we endorse one brand? In fact, we do not even have the study data of the company’s brand then how can we assure the quality of the drug. Therefore, we are going to issue a show cause letter to the company,” informed Sharma.
Whereas, Bharat Reddy, Executive Director, MSN Laboratories replied, “We have received an email confirmation from the association, in fact so far we have given free Favilow medicine to around 100 doctors across the country.”
He also informed that besides healthcare workers, it is also giving the medicine for free to police, journalists etc.’ who have been infected by COVID-19 and require favipiravir but based on doctor’s valid prescription.
Last month, the company launched favipiravir under the brand name of Favilow. The medicine is available across the country and each tablet costs Rs 33 for the treatment of COVID-19. It is available in the strength of 200 mg tablets. MSN Laboratories manufactures the medicine from its formulation I facility located in Bollaram, Hyderabad.