- FabiFlu is launched by Mumbai-based Pharma brand, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals
- FabiFlu can be used for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID019 cases
- Favipiravir is an antiviral drug, approved in Japan for treating COVID-19
New Delhi: Favipiravir is an antiviral drug which has been approved in Japan for treating COVID-19. In India, the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication for the treatment of COVID-19 was launched by the Mumbai-based Pharma brand, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. The company said that the antiviral drug Favipiravir, under the brand name FabiFlu, can be used for the treatment of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 at a price of about Rs 103 per tablet.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals on Friday (June 19) received the manufacturing and marketing approval for the usage of FabiFlu for COVID-19 patients from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Glenmark Pharmaceuticals’ Chairman Glenn Saldanha said in a statement,
This approval comes at a time when cases in India are spiralling like never before, putting tremendous pressure on our healthcare system.
The approval’s restricted use entails responsible medication usage where every patient must have signed informed consent before treatment initiation, Glenmark asserts in the statement.
Favipiravir can be used for coronavirus patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. It offers rapid reduction in viral load within four days and provides faster symptomatic improvement, the statement further read.
Favipiravir has shown clinical improvement of up to 88 per cent in mild to moderate COVID-19 cases, it added.
The company hopes that the availability of an effective treatment such as FabiFlu will considerably help assuage this pressure, and offer patients in India a much-needed option of timely therapy, he added.
FabiFlu will be available as a 200 mg tablet at a maximum retail price of Rs 3,500 for a strip of 34 tablets, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said in a statement. It is a prescription-based medication with recommended dose being 1,800 mg twice daily on day one, followed by 800 mg twice daily up to day-14, it added.
Dr Vikas Maurya, Director, Department of Pulmonology and Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, explained that while the drug is not specific to COVID-19, many studies found that there was some benefit of Favipiravir in COVID-19 treatment. He explained,
Antiviral drugs like Remdesivir and Favipiravir are not specific to COVID-19 but were being used for influenza. This drug was already being used in Japan for influenza and they have been using it in COVID-19 patients also. Even China was using it and Russia had also given permission in May to use it to treat COVID-19 patients.
Dr Maurya said with COVID-19 cases spiking in the country, the launching of the drug comes as a relief but shouldn’t be treated as a ‘magic bullet’, he said,
It is not a magic bullet as it is not the only thing we have to give to the patients. This is not a specific drug made for COVID-19 and has been found to be useful with the symptoms, but we don’t know how useful it can be yet. Real efficacy of FabiFlu will be known when we can administer on a large scale.
Dr Maurya signed off by saying that the best thing about FabiFlu is that it is an oral drug, so can be even taken by the patients who are in home isolation.
With inputs from PTI