Express Pharma

Dr Reddy’s to launch generic COVID-19 Merck drug at about 50 cents a pill

The overall cost for a patient treated with a five-day course of 40 capsules of the generic drug, to be sold under brand name 'Molflu,' will come up to Rs 1,400

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Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will launch its generic version of Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 pill, Molnupiravir, and price it at Rs 35 ($0.4693) per capsule, a company spokesperson said yesterday.

The overall cost for a patient treated with a five-day course of 40 capsules of the generic drug, to be sold under brand name ‘Molflu,’ will come up to Rs 1,400 ($18.77). In comparison, the treatment with Merck’s pill in the US costs $700.

“Molflu is expected to be available from early next week in pharmacies throughout (India) with particular focus on states with high caseload of COVID-19,” the company spokesperson said.

India last week gave emergency use approval to Molnupiravir along with two vaccines, as the country braces for a possible spike in corona virus cases due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

With a view to turn India into a manufacturing hub, Merck has entered into licensing agreements with eight domestic drugmakers, including Dr Reddy’s, to make and supply generic versions of Molnupiravir to over 100 low- and middle-income countries.

A total of 13 companies in India will make Molnupiravir, the country’s health minister said last week.

Governments around the world have been scrambling to buy a similar but more effective antiviral treatment from Pfizer, while Merck’s pill has faced some setbacks after disappointing trial data.

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