India's demand for COVID-19 drug remdesivir to fall, says Cipla

Anuron Kumar Mitra
·1-min read
The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hamburg

By Anuron Kumar Mitra

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Drugmaker Cipla said on Tuesday that India's demand for COVID-19 drug remdesivir will likely fall in coming months, as daily coronavirus infections in the country continue to decline.

Cipla was among the first companies in India to launch a generic version of remdesivir, developed by U.S.-based Gilead Sciences, and as of September had sold more than 300,000 vials across India.

"There is a direct link between the number of cases and remdesivir sales," Kedar Upadhye, Cipla's global chief financial officer, told Reuters. He did not provide details on how much he expected demand to fall.

Demand for the drug was still robust in October and November, but began to drop in December, Upadhye said.

India's average daily coronavirus caseload was about 53,000 in October and November, and plunged to around 27,000 in December, according to a Reuters tally. Daily cases had hit a peak in September.

The World Health Organization in November advised that the drug not be used for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, for lack of evidence it could improve patient survival.

But there has been no change to protocols on remdesivir's use in India, Upadhye said.

Mumbai-headquartered Cipla said on Friday its consolidated net profit more than doubled during the three months ended Dec. 31, helped by higher demand for other drugs across its portfolio.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)