Dexamethasone Shows Potential Of Repurposed Generics Against COVID-19
Repurposing Existing Medicines Is Key Part Of Pandemic Solution, Industry Insists
Positive trial results for dexamethasone in treating COVID-19 patients demonstrate the potential of repurposing existing generic medicines to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
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In the wake of the revelation that the US has secured rights to almost all of Gilead’s remdesivir supplies through September 2020, compulsory licensing had been raised as a possible way for countries to procure versions of the COVID-19 treatment. However, Medicines for Europe has cautioned that the procedure will not be practical to apply in Europe.
Zydus Cadila hopes to launch its version of Gilead’s remdesivir by end-July in India, even as earlier licensees Hetero Drugs and Cipla have just commercialized the antiviral. Plans for pegylated interferon alfa-2b to treat COVID-19 include a trial in Mexico and an IND in the US. Separately, desidustat is being considered for additional indications.
While the jury is still out on dexamethasone being the new hero in the fight against COVID-19 after the hype around hydroxychloroquine has died down, Indian pharma is watching developments closely. Gains of companies like Zydus Cadila, Wockhardt, Cadila and Cipla in the domestic market will be constrained by price caps while any increase in exports will depend on emergency use authorizations.