Drug major Cipla is working with government agencies to develop a treatment for COVID-19 while ramping up the production of various life saving essential drugs, according to company's chairman YK Hamied. Sharing information with company's shareholders in the drug firm's annual report for 2019-20, Hamied said the company is at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.
"Cipla is collaborating with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Ministry of Health to develop medications for the treatment of COVID-19," Hamied said.
Meanwhile, the company is offering drugs, which have shown potency in treating COVID-19, in partnership with its global partners, he said.
"Through our strategic global partnerships, we offer a wide range of drugs in our portfolio giving relief and improving treatment access.
This is especially true with the vital life-saving drugs like remdesivir, favipiravir and tocilizumab," Hamied said.
The Mumbai-based drug firm is also ramping up manufacturing of essential drugs required in the fight against the pandemic, he added.
Besides scaling up production of medicines that show potency against the virus -- Lopinavir + Ritonavir, Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin, the company is also ramping up manufacturing of drugs for chronic ailments such as asthma, COPD, among others, Hamied said.
He added that the pandemic has also served as a wake up call spotlighting the need for every nation to be self-reliant.
Cipla's philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency and its pledge to provide universal access to affordable medicines has become even more critical today, Hamied noted.
The foundation and backbone of the pharma industry is the availability and manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients known as APIs, he said.
"The Government, along with our industry, must set up its priorities on availability of essential drugs and give suitable incentives to the industry to boost development," Hamied said.
Cipla has many decades of expertise in manufacturing of bulk APIs and therefore it looks forward to extending its whole-hearted support to the government in this initiative, he added.
Over the years, the drug major has come up with solutions for various critical diseases.
In early 2001, Cipla brought in the drugs for HIV/AIDS and subsequently drugs for pandemic diseases, Hamied said, pointing out the company's prowess in developing cost effective medicines for life threatening diseases.
In 2001, the company developed the world's first triple anti-retroviral drug combination, Triomune for HIV/AIDS patients and offered it at below USD 1 per day as against the then prevailing international pricing of USD 12,000-USD 15,000 per year.
The medication opened the door for the treatment of HIV/AIDS across third world countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, Hamied noted.
As a result, millions have been treated in Africa over the years, he said.
At the end of 2019, out of 38 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally, 25.4 million people (67 per cent) have had access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and nearly two-thirds of the world's antiretroviral drugs are supplied from India, he added.
Besides, the company has also in the past helped in the fight against infectious diseases like anthrax, bird flu and swine flu by developing drugs, Hamied noted.