India’s Hetero gets emergency use nod to make Roche’s COVID-19 drug

BENGALURU, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Indian drug developer Hetero said on Monday it has received emergency use approval from the country’s health authorities to make a generic version of Roche Holding AG’s (ROG.S) COVID-19 drug.

Hetero expects to make the treatment, tocilizumab, available in India by the end of the month under the brand name Tocira. Tocilizumab has been facing a global shortage as the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant drives up cases in several countries.

COVID-19 cases in India have declined from levels hit during the second wave in April and May, although health experts believe that the country should brace for a third wave by October.

Roche’s blockbuster arthritis drug, tocilizumab, cuts the risk of death among patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 along with shortening the recovery time and reducing the need for mechanical ventilation. read more

A sign at a diagnostics site for Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is seen as the company said problems at a new warehouse delayed the dispatch of some products, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Burgess Hill, Britain, October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Files

Tocira will be made by Hetero’s unit at its Hyderabad facility.

Hetero, which makes COVID-19 treatments like remdesivir and favipiravir, had also sought emergency approval for Merck’s COVID-19 drug molnupiravir in July. read more

Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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