05:18 GMT20 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Registering a new high in daily coronavirus cases, India recorded over 66,000 infections over the last 24 hours, taking the country's total COVD-19 tally to nearly 2.4 million. India remains the third worst-hit nation in the world.

    Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila launched the country's least expensive version of Remdesivir priced at 2,800 rupees ($37.4) per 100mg vial on Thursday, amid reports of shortages in hospitals.

    The drug has been branded as "Remdac" and will be sold to both private and government hospitals designated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

    The antiviral medication, which is a clone of the drug originally produced by American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has already been produced by four other pharma firms in the country - Hetero Labs Ltd, Cipla, Mylan NV, and Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd.

    The US firm has also inked pacts with India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd and Syngene International Ltd to manufacture the "lifesaving" drugs for supply in India and abroad as cases continue to rise.

    To safeguard patients' interests in these critical times, the drug regulatory bodies in India - the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) - are tracking the price of two COVID-19 treatment drugs Remdesivir and Favipiravir.

    Last month, Indian pharmaceutical company Glemark slashed the prices of Favipiravir, branded as Fabiflu, by 27 percent from $1.37 (INR130) to $1 (INR 75) per tablet.

    Both antiviral drugs have witnessed a steep decline in prices since the launch and have shown significant improvement in the condition of patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

    India is the world's third worst-hit nation by COVID-19, and has registered 66,999 cases and 942 deaths in the last 24 hours. The active cases in the country stand at 653,622, with 1,695,982 people cured and discharged so far.

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    COVID-19, pharmaceutics, India
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