New Delhi: American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has granted royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licenses to Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase production and expand distribution of baricitinib in India.
Indian manufacturers Cipla Ltd., Lupin Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd have gained the licenses and some other drug companies are in talks with Eli Lilly for voluntary licenses.
Baricitinib, also known as Olumiant, is a drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adults whose disease was not well controlled using RA medications called tumour necrosis factor antagonists.
A recent study suggested that baricitinib and remdesivir can reduce recovery time and accelerate improvement from COVID complications as against administration of the remdesivir alone. This is notably found effective in patients receiving high-flow oxygen or noninvasive ventilation.
These voluntary licensing agreements will ensure high-quality manufacturing and accessibility of baricitinib during this pandemic for improving the local treatment options to those who are currently battling Covid-19 in India.
Lilly has recently received permission for restricted emergency use by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), Ministry of Health, for baricitinib to be used in combination with Remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed covid infections.
Commenting on the development, Luca Visini, Managing Director, India Subcontinent, Lilly India, said, "Lilly is committed to supporting India in this healthcare challenge through our innovative and effective portfolio of breakthrough medicines. During the current surging Covid-19 pandemic, we have responded by issuing three voluntary licenses for baricitinib by pharmaceutical companies in India to accelerate its local manufacturing and distribution under the best quality conditions. More licenses to additional Indian generic manufacturers are expected to be announced soon."
On the 4th of May, Lilly also announced that an initial donation of 400,000 baricitinib tablets was being made immediately available through the humanitarian aid organization, Direct Relief, to the Indian government for eligible hospitalized Covid-19 patients in India, while urgently working to increase product supply over the coming days.