Despite concerns over the safety of anti-Covid drug molnupiravir, Indians have purchased around 1.2 crore pills worth Rs 50 crore within the first month of its launch, data shows.
According to the latest information from health research firm IQVIA, molnupiravir has registered a turnover of Rs 46.5 crore with Hetero’s Movfor registering the highest sales in terms of revenue and JB Chemicals’ Molnumax in terms of maximum units sold.
The first oral anti-Covid drug, molnupiravir, was approved in the last week of December by the country’s apex health regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
Thirteen Indian pharmaceutical companies, including Torrent, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy’s, Natco, Mylan, Hetero, and Optimus were given the clearances to manufacture molnupiravir, which is being developed by US-based biotechnology company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics in collaboration with American pharma giant Merck.
The data shows that in January, more than 5.6 lakh units of the drug have been sold across India. Out of these, some brands contain strips of 10 capsules whereas others contain strips of 40 capsules. As per the estimates, 1.2 crore capsules have been sold in the past month..
According to a senior official from a Mumbai-based pharma company, which manufactures molnupiravir, “It usually takes a long time for a molecule to hit the turnover of Rs 40 crore. However, the drug was launched in the middle of the third wave and hence, managed to garner decent revenue in the first month, itself.”
However, according to an industry veteran who represents a pharma lobby group, the momentum will not continue further. “The first-month sales show its hype but the fizz will soon get over,” he said while adding that “it looks difficult that the drug would survive in the long run considering the emerging concerns around its safety.