Two India-based companies launch Malaria drug for India and the world

Two India-based companies launch Malaria drug for India and the world

India’s Cipla and Ranbaxy Laboratories (owned by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo)  both announced novel combination therapies for on World Malaria Day — with eyes on markets in India, Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

The products — Ranbaxy’s Synriam and Cipla’s Meflian Plus — are combinations of existing molecules arterolane maleate +piperaquine phosphate (Ranbaxy’s drug) and artesunate + mefloquine (Cipla’s product), respectively. The two drugs reduce dosage to one tablet per day for three days as against 2-4 tablets daily that the other drugs require. Cipla’s drug has been introduced in partnership with the global research organisation Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), with the latter doing the clinical trials.

Business Today said, quoted Ranbaxy CEO Arun Sawhney that its product was “India’s first new chemical entity developed through clinical trials and commercialization in India”.

Synriam, priced at Rs. 130 ($1.60) for three tablets, is a three-day course.  The three-tablet module sets it apart from alternative therapies which require a 2-4 tablet dosage per day. Addressing the issue of price compared to competitors in the same category, Sawhney said that the drug is “the most economic therapy for malaria from the available options…there are some drugs that are priced at Rs.250 so compared to that this will be half of that.” This new drug, partially financed by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India, has been approved for marketing by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI).

YK Hamied, CMD, Cipla, said Meflian Plus was targeted at resistant cases of malaria and that they would look at countries such as  Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, where incidence of malaria is high.

According to the DNA India newspaper,  Revital and Volini are the leading brands for Ranbaxy, contributing to about 13% of its domestic sales, while for Cipla, Asthalin and Seroflo are the leading brands, making up 8% of its domestic sales.

What this means

This is simply a step in the journey of Indian drugmakers to become players on the world stage, beyond makers of generic drugs for the global market.


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