With a view to effectively tackle first global flu which has attained epidemic status worldwide in 41 years, a breakthrough has been achieved by the Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla Ltd, by launching its product named "Antiflu", in response to H1N1 virus on Wednesday dated 11th November, 2009. Cipla's product "Antiflu", for treating influenza, is the only product to officially get nod from World Health Organization. This product launch has come in wake of H1N1 virus attaining "pandemic" status.
The generic version of the drug by Cipla named as Oseltamivir to treat Influenza A is expected to be priced at Rs 475 for 10 capsules. Also, in the offing, 75 ml syrup bottle is expected to be launched shortly that would be priced in the same fashion.
Dr J A Gogtay, Medical Director of Cipla has mentioned that based on WHO statement influenza being a benign ailment accounts for 2.5-5 lakhs of deaths across the globe annually. These deaths comprise chiefly of elderly individuals or those with underlying conditions of heart, kidneys, lungs etc. In this year 2009, the patterns in fatal-deaths have been unexpectedly high with H1N1 virus attacking healthy individuals too.
Like any other H1N1 product, Antiflu will be sold under Schedule X category in India. Dr Gogtay has added that the drug would be dispensed strictly under physician's prescription and would be made available in the market only to the chemists possessing the license to sell drugs under Schedule X category. Ranbaxy Laboratories, Strides Arcolab and Hetero Drugs are the other three laboratories from India that are approved to manufacture Oseltamivir apart from Cipla. In the process to tackle this epidemic, Cipla has already supplied to the government of India with nearly 2 million capsules.
Dr Gogtay hastens to conclude that there are only three to four manufacturers of Oseltamivir in India. However, Antiflu is the only medicament that seems to have qualified by WHO for tackling Swine flu along with Roche being the other manufacturer in this segment.