Indian pharma companies gearing up to grab opportunities in global supply of oral COVID-19 drugs, observes GlobalData

Indian pharma companies have already occupied pole position in the supply of repurposed COVID-19 drugs globally. With the launch of new innovative COVID-19 oral drugs, Indian companies are again expected to grab opportunities in the global supply of oral COVID-19 drugs, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Several countries are observing increasing cases of COVID-19, irrespective of the mass population being vaccinated. Hence, they have started booking supply orders for innovative COVID-19 treatments like antibody cocktails, monoclonal antibodies and the latest addition to these treatments is the approval of oral COVID-19 drug ‘molnupiravir’.

Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Oral treatment for COVID-19 would be the most convenient option for the patients ranging from mild to moderate COVID-19 and would not require a hospital setting. Currently, a majority of the COVID-19 treatments require a hospital setting.”

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, the UK is the first country to approve Merck’s molnupiravir as the first oral drug for COVID-19 treatment. Molnupiravir is in the pre-registration stage in the US, EU and Japan. Moreover, Pfizer submitted the emergency authorization application of its COVID-19 drug Paxlovid to the US FDA on 16 November 2021.

Paxlovid and molnupriavir are forecast to register sales of US$7.5bn and US$8bn, respectively, globally in 2022.

Merck has already established partnerships with five Indian companies – Cipla, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs and Sun Pharma to supply molnupiravir to India and more than 100 low- and middle-income countries. Similarly, Pfizer established partnership with Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to manufacture generic versions of Paxlovid to 95 low- and middle-income countries.

Khadayate concludes: “Indian generic players are popular globally to supply quality generic drugs. Moreover, Indian players have manufacturing facilities accredited by the World Health Organization and leading regulatory agencies. Based on this, Indian generic players are always preferred partners. In addition, Pfizer would also like to partner with the Indian players to supply Paxlovid. Therefore, Indian players should be prepared to capture potential opportunities within the oral COVID-19 treatment and should be ready to supply oral COVID-19 drugs on a fast-track basis.”

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