NDTV spoke today to the manufacturer of the recently-cleared Covid pill for India. US pharma giant Merck has licensed the Molnupiravir to more than a dozen firms that will manufacture it in India.
Here’s what we know now about this pill after a detailed interview with Dr D Srinivas Reddy, the top boss at Optimus Pharma, one of the companies which will make the pill after emergency approval was given two days ago.
- In trials in India involving more than 1,000 people, most patients who took the full course tested negative after five days.
- This is a prescription-only pill, it will not be available over-the-counter.
- Cost of the full course is Rs 2,500 but this price could reduce over time to Rs 400 per course.
- The full five-day course consists of 8 tablets per day.
- Take 4 pills in the morning (on empty stomach) and 4 in the evening.
- The early rollout of the pill will focus on making it available in metros.
- The pill will be available for use in a week.
Dr Reddy of Optimus Pharma said the company is also in talks to make a second Covid pill, PAXLOVID, which was developed by Pfizer and which shows an efficacy of 90% as compared to 30% for Molnupiravir.
Once emergency approval is obtained for the Pfizer version, it could be ready for use in India by Optimus in five to six months, Dr Reddy claimed. He said it will be much more expensive than Molnupiravir and could cost as much as four times the price of the Merck pill which will be deployed in a week.