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Indian pharma major Cipla has launched its generic version of antiviral drug remdesivir, Cipremi, at 4000 rupees ( $53.34) per 100 mg vial. Thus the Indian version of remdesivir became the lowest-priced version of the COVID-19 treatment available so far globally.

Cipla is planning to supply over 80,000 vials within the first month. To ensure equitable distribution, the drug will be available through government and hospital channels.

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Cipremi has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for restricted emergency use in the country as part of the accelerated approval process considering the urgent and unmet medical need.

Pharmaceutical major Mylan NV has also said that its generic version of remdesivir will be priced at Rs 4,800 per 100 mg vial.

Hyderabad-based drug firm Hetero has said it has fixed a maximum retail price of Rs 5,400 per vial for the drug.

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Remdesivir is the only United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)-approved Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) treatment for adult and pediatric patients hospitalised with suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection.

In May, domestic pharma firms Hetero, Cipla and Jubilant Life Sciences entered into non-exclusive licensing agreements with drug major Gilead Sciences Inc for manufacturing and distribution of remdesivir.

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The launch of the Indian version of the generic drug came at a time when US government officials, on June 29, said that they bought more than 500,000 treatment courses of antiviral drug remdesivir, for next three months and effectively excluding other countries from accessing the drug.