Dexamethasone could be another potential opportunity for Indian pharma companies, says GlobalData

Following the news that Indian drug firms cheer dexamethasone’s efficacy in severe COVID-19 patients;
Nag Madhavi, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid, is used for the treatment of various diseases such as inflammatory diseases, certain autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, asthma, lung conditions, and allergic reactions. Based on the recently published results, dexamethasone could be a potential breakthrough therapy for COVID-19.

“The preliminary data from the large RECOVERY trial conducted in the UK demonstrated that dexamethasone is effective in reducing the mortality rates in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, who either require oxygen or mechanical ventilation. Thus, it could be a life-saving drug as compared to remdesivir, which has not shown any statistically significant reduction of mortality in severely ill patients.

“According to GlobalData COVID-19 dashboard, as of 23 June 2020, India has 440,215 confirmed cases and the dashboard forecasts 1,393,477 confirmed cases in India in a low transmission risk scenario by 02 July 2020.

“Dexamethasone is a widely available generic drug in India with Zydus Cadila being the major player, followed by Wockhardt, GLS Pharma, Wyeth, Cipla and Sun Pharma. The drug is priced at less than INR3 (US$0.04) per strip of 10 tablets and included under drug price control in India. Notably, to meet the possible increased domestic demand of the drug, the companies have enough capacity and the Indian pharma companies can even cater to the increased export demand of the drug. Reportedly, Indian companies export dexamethasone to more than 100 countries, with the US being the largest importer.

“Dexamethasone could be beneficial for India as it is cost-effective and easily accessible. Moreover, it helps address issues such as shortages of ventilators for critically ill patients, as patients with oxygen support when treated with dexamethasone might not progress to ventilator support. However, the inclusion of the drug in the treatment protocol by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be dependent on the full published data of trial results, which would indicate the co-morbidities of the patients as well.”

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