Cipla launches generic drugs for swine flu treatment

Indian drug major Cipla has launched generic versions of anti-flu drugs `oseltamivir' and `zanamivir' for the treatment of swine flu (H1N1).

The generic version of oseltamivir in the local market is named `Antiflu' and that of zanamivir as `Virenza'. Antiflu will cost Rs475 for 10 capsules while Virenza, which is an inhaled drug will cost Rs800 (including the price for an inhalation device), Cipla said in release.

Cipla's Antiflu is a copycat version of Swiss multi-national Hoffmann-La Roche's `Tamiflu' and Virenza is the copy of GlaxoSmithKline's `Relenza', the release said, adding that the two drugs, which are pre-1995 discoveries, lack patent protection in India.

Cipla is equipped to make 2 million doses of oseltamivir a month, in case of any eventuality, Dr Y K Hamied, chairman and managing director of the company said.

"Now the US is facing a shortage of oseltamivir and we have informed our readiness to supply the drug if needed. We make about 20 drugs in the anti-viral segment and are among the global leaders in this category," the Cipla chief said.

While Roche has licensed Hyderabad-based Hetero for supply of oseltamivir in India under the brand name `Fluvir', the two drugs have patent protection in many developed countries, including the US and Europe.