Cipla reports sharp rise in demand for COVID-19 drug remdesivir in India
9 November 2020 -

Global chief financial officer of Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla Ltd, Kedar Upadhye, said on 9 November 2020 that the demand for the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir is rising sharply in India, even as experts remain divided over its effectiveness, Reuters news agency reported on Monday.

Remdesivir was developed by US drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc, which cut its 2020 revenue forecast last month, citing lower-than-expected demand and difficulty in predicting sales of the treatment. Cipla is among several firms licensed to make and sell generic versions in developing nations.

Cipla's version, Cipremi, was commercially launched in July 2020 and costs just over USD50 per 100 mg vial.

Upadhye, told Reuters: "From October onwards, (the company is) seeing very sharp increase in (remdesivir) monthly volumes ... there are no constraints on supplies now." He was also quoted as saying that the company had sold over 300,000 vials of the drug across India, as of September 2020.

According to Reuters, Remdesivir has become the standard of care for patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19, with more than 50 countries including the US approving its use.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said last month that its global trial of COVID-19 therapies had found that remdesivir did not have a substantial effect on the length of patients' hospital stays or their chances of survival.