On 4th August 2020, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries- one of India’s drug major-launched the antiviral drug Favipiravir under the brand name ‘FluGuard‘ at Rs. 35 per tablet in our country. The Pharma claims that this drug can be used for mild to moderate Covid-19 fever and viral treatment.
Favipiravir is the only oral anti-viral treatment approved by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for human trials and later possible treatment of patients infected with mild to moderate Corona virus.
With over 50,000 COVID-19 cases being reported daily in India, there is an urgent need to develop a vaccine or medicine to curb this upward rising curve. Medical professionals like doctors, nurses and other hospital staffs need stronger protection and medicinal care themselves.
Hence, Sun Pharma spokesperson said in a regulatory filing that- ‘the stocks of FluGuard tablets will be available in the market from the coming week for general public to purchase it from pharmacies and medical stores.’
‘The company is closely working with the government and medical community to ensure availability of FluGuard (Favipiravir 200 mg) to patients across the country’, he further commented.
Loss-making in previous months, Shares sky-rocket after announcement of potential Covid Cure:
Sun Pharma Industries’ share price jumped over 8 percent on 5th August 2020, a day after the company declared the approval of its drug for human trials.
Till last month the pharma company reported loss of more than half a century crores amid the shutting down of industrial activities and loss of production raw materials. It stood at Rs 60.78 crore, as against the previous quarter gains in the financial year 2020 – Rs 95.02 crore which was negative.
However, being in the health sector has its own perks in the Pandemic 2020, as the company reported net profit in the first quarter at Rs 56.69 crore as against a loss of Rs 94.19 crore in the year-ago quarter.
The stock value shot over 40 % in the last three months and was trading at Rs 189.55- up Rs 14.90 i.e. 8.53 percent at 10:21 pm on 5TH August. It has touched a high of Rs 199.95 as compared to the low of Rs 187.40 a day ago.
The stock is now presenting robust momentum with price rising above the short, medium and long term moving averages. It has a low-slung liability with book value per share improving, covering up for the last two years.
As we report this article – Shares of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries closed at Rs 528.50 per share on BSE, increment by 1.67 per cent since its previous close.
Drug Development by Sun Pharma for Corona Virus:
April 2020- Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd has started clinical trials of AQCH, a phytopharmaceutical, as a potential treatment for covid-19. The plant-derived drug was initially developed for dengue, but considering its broad antiviral effect in studies, the DCGI allows them to run trials.
Sun Pharma has been working with DBT-ICGE and CSIR-IIIM since 2016 for the development of a phytopharmaceutical drug for dengue and now in 2020 it has been recommended for Covid-19 SARS virus.
June 2020- Sun Pharma reported that the drug – Nafamostat Mesilate has been approved by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for research and development in relation to covid-19. This drug was previously approved by Japan for treatment of acute pancreatitis and intravascular coagulation.
“AQCH, which is being developed for dengue, has shown broad antiviral effect in in-vitro studies and hence is being tested as a potential treatment option for COVID-19,” they said in an official statement.
July 2020- The Phase II clinical trial to be performed in 210 Covid-19 patients at 12 quarantine centres across India by Sun Pharma. The treatment duration for patients will be ten days, with results expected by October this year. The focus of this pharma was to create an affordable drug as soon as possible to cater to the needs of infected patients and those who come in risk groups like senior citizens, pregnant women, children and people with low immune system.
August 2020- Sun Pharma Industries India announces the launch of Favipiravir 200 mg named FluGuard at affordable price of Rs. 35 per tablet, for the treatment of mild-moderate cases of Covid-19 exclusively available in Indian markets. ‘Favipiravir’ was originally developed by Japanese pharmaceutical – Fujifilm Holdings Corp. under the brand name ‘Avigan’ for treating influenza and cold.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries announced that a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd will acquire Aquinox Pharmaceuticals (Canada) Incorporation for $8.2 million.
Sun Pharma shares surged after this announcement. It’s shares on the BSE were trading at Rs. 491.05, higher by Rs. 8.55 i.e. 1.77 % as compared to its previous close.
Talking about the impact of the pandemic on the company, they commented, “Despite our proactive Covid risk response initiative, we do estimate some softening of sales in the near term due to the lockdowns and economic slowdown across various countries, although it is difficult to quantify the impact as of now”.
Indian Drug Companies’ Businesses contribute to – ‘LOCAL se Vocal’ campaign.
The Government of India has allocated Rs. 10,000 crores for development of pharmaceutical companies in India to shift the reliance we have on foreign countries of especially China as they are leading producers of API- raw materials used in manufacturing medicines. This NEWS was reported exclusively by The Indian Wire.
With a heavy import duty imposed on API drugs by the Indian government to promote the domestic manufacturing of medicinal drugs encouraged the Indian pharma to participate in the covid-19 vaccine race.
The Pharma businesses include producing proprietary generics, speciality over- the-counter (OTC) products, anti-retroviral (ARVs), Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and intermediates in the full range of prescription dosages. Now they have gained new business in production of specialty APIs.
Popular Covid-19 antiviral drug Favipiravir, a ₹220 crore market in India.
Favipiravir one of the most prominent drug for treatment of covid-19 account for ₹220 crores in sales for pharmaceutical firms in the Indian market in the year 2020, with additional international sales foreign countries.
“We estimate this to be a ₹2.0-2.2 billion market in India in FY21. Sales in other LMICs will be an upside. Assuming a steady decline in cases and no second wave, we expect the upside to be largely limited to FY21 and FY22,” analysis report produced by Bernstein reported.
The total amount approximates at Rs.80 crores in sales from favipiravir and others from similar drugs. However, these figures are variable and rapidly changing due to fierce competition and estimating price battle for the remedy.
Top rated pharma Glenmark launched favipiravir under the brand ‘Fabiflu’ in the month of June at Rs. 103 per tablet. This price range fulminated criticism from all over the country. It was declared to be too expensive for treating mild-moderate covid-19 fever. Hence they were pressurised to decrease the price range to below 100 i.e. Rs75.
Since Glenmark lowered the price, contemporary companies have followed tails and come out with their version of the medicine at cheaper prices, the newest being Sun Pharma’s – ‘FluGuard’ and Lupin’s- ‘Covihalt’. Sun Pharma brand is seen as the cheapest so far, costing less than half of Glenmark’s FabiFlu at ₹35 per tablet.
Covid-19 Drug approval impact on Economy Markets.
The COVID–19 vaccines will be a gift to mankind but it will come with its own set of challenges which will gravel us with difficulties in the initial stages of its birth. Public and private collaborations will play an important role in mounting up the manufacturing process, supply to remotest areas and availability of the vaccine to every household.
Pricing strategy and Marketing problems–
The Serum Institute of India is planning to produce 60 million doses of the vaccine this year and estimated price will be Rs.1000 per dose in India, however, it will be sold free of cost at government dispensaries and hospitals. Optimal pricing strategies must be adopted by the Government and they must urge the pharmaceutical companies to sell the COVID–19 drugs at affordable cost price. In most countries, governments will bear the cost of the vaccine as a part of public welfare and healthcare schemes.
Quantity and Quality of the Products –
Once the vaccine/drug gets approved, number of doses will still remain under investigations as different people react to different proportions of medicines. Safe and effective data in a population of 1.3 billion will be the next hurdle and require staff and efficient record maintainers. Cold storages and warehouses that comes under modern day logistics must be set up at a large scale for storage and maintaining quality for longer periods of time.
Industrial Production and Resource Management –
To meet the high demand, production must be done at larger scale and greater speed. India will take the lead and soon will be the key supplier of the COVID–19 vaccines if there is appropriate resource management, thanks to our greatest resource -man power and workers forming a large part of unemployed and under paid youth.
Market Economy –
Coronavirus pandemic has destroyed our growing economy as of developing curve was concerned. It has already taken lakhs of lives globally, with numbers continuing to pile up. Healthcare sector has been impacted directly with hospitals struggling to accommodate and treat patients with the cure still unknown to them as well.
The healthcare emergency has blown up into an economic catastrophe the entire world is forced to be locked down and seal their airports to encompass the spread of virus. Many have lost their jobs and many businesses have been fallen into bankruptcy. Most companies have switched to the work from a home prototype with virtual office setups and video calls. The new social distancing, combined with uncertainty surrounding the situation, has created a mentally stressful environment, implying the urgency for development of medicines and vaccines. We all await the new normal with hopes and ambitions.