How would the Pharma Industry manage the pressure where all eyes are on them? When can they put forth the best meds for COVID-19? Can they manage an equilibrium between the investors and the customers by giving up on whopping profit margins?
The latest research made by Andrew Hill et al stated in the Journal of Virus Eradication discovers the minimal costs incurred for the processing of new treatments related to COVID-19. And to your surprise, the majority of these drugs are not new but the ‘repurposed’ prevailing medicines. How is the estimation made for the production cost of COVID-19 meds? The approximate value of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) is a significant determinant which worked well to attain a prognostic accuracy of medicines related to HIV and Hepatitis C.
The extraction of this valuable data was achievable fro, analytical route of chemical synthesis and the global export shipment records. The entire cost estimation sheet went under an in-depth comparative study with the listing process from other countries, revealing the pricing data.
Pharma Industry is undertaking all initiatives to explore and introduce effective medicine for coronavirus treatment at the earliest possible. But the pressure of providing cheap drugs and the alluring profits that this medicine can fetch for the Pharma Industry is creating a buzz all around. It’s sceptical whether drug manufacturers are ready to stake their earnings for giant market capture. Several studies on this matter are on board globally, and no one is sure about how things would go.
Hill et al gave a valuation on minimum production cost relevant to several drugs, and the list goes as follows:
- $0.08/day for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
- $0.93/day for remdesivir
- $0.02/day for chloroquine
- $1.45/day for favipiravir
- $0.28/day for lopinavir/ritonavir
- $0.10/day for azithromycin
- $1.09/day for pirfenidone
- $0.39/day for sofosbuvir/daclatasvir
The manufacturing and production cost for the COVID-19 treatment course of 10 – 28 days ranges somewhere around $0.30 to $31. But the study showed that the actual market prices of these drugs were at a high end in comparison to their manufacturing costs. And the trend precisely aligns in the US.
With low production costs, it is prodigious that Pharma Companies can earn splurging profits even if they off-patent the generic drugs at competitive prices. Hence, the chances of losses are very less or negligible. The Pharma industry is following an opportunistic approach to produce COVID medications at earliest. Another obvious fact is that Government Policymakers would follow tough price negotiations so that the treatment for Corona disease is accessible at inexpensive price rates all over the world. It would be interesting to find if they can convince the Pharma Companies to decide at desirable drug rates or no.
The current pandemic scenario resulted in a supply chain disruption as a result of which API prices are accessible at a higher rate than normal. Also, the freight charges are comparatively high due to the cagey attitude of Government in relevance to the consignments arriving from the Pandemic hotspots.
While the primary manufacturers of HCQ in our country are Zydus Cadila and IPCA, they would play a major part in the production process. After the orders from the Government for increasing the production of HCQ understanding its efficacy as prophylactic for securing healthcare workers, companies are boosting its production. A recent statement from Pankaj Patel, the Chairman of Zydus Cadila stated that the company would deliver ICMR at a lower cost in comparison to government-regulated prices. And the price might be a bit lesser than Rs.3 per tablet. The company is also taking up new measures for proactive HCQ exports and shifting their focus to meet domestic needs.
MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) or Doctors without Borders applauded this crucial pricing study and paid emphasis to the fact that probable COVID-19 treatment can now be made accessible at reasonable rates to fight this Pandemic situation.
Jessica Burry, a renowned Pharmacist from MSF, made a declaration about the campaign pointing out that price extortions and profits cannot be the motive at this time. Running behind patents or monopoly can only lead to artificial scarcity and unimportant price hikes. Such price hikes can only lead to the persistence of Pandemic for a more extended period. And there’s no point if common people cannot afford a lifesaving drug!
It is an actual litmus test for the entire Pharma Industry whether they would take up this a selfless motive to wipe off the COVID-19 spread or only focus on earning lucrative in these challenging times. And what how will they convince the stakeholders for detriments? Although they can also set up the long-term vision of profit-making business on a good note along with gaining the trust and respect from patients globally!