COVID-19 treatment: Demand for Dexamethasone set to surge in India?

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Published: June 18, 2020 2:07 PM

Dexamethasone, after findings from a UK research have come out, has been claimed to be one of the first drugs that has shown improvement in Coronavirus patients.

COVID19: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug in coronavirus treatment, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine likely to protect for a year, claims CEOIn India, the report asserted, Dexamethasone is a small market by value but not by volumes.

Dexamethasone, after findings from a UK research have come out, has been claimed to be one of the first drugs that has shown improvement in Coronavirus patients. The anti-inflammatory steroid, therefore, has come under the radar for many markets for its usage including India. A surge in demand is likely industry experts predict, similar to the time when usage of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) went up sometime back, the Indian Express reported. Having said this, it is yet to be studied for Indian market for a better understanding of its benefits and how it can be used within treatment protocol in India.

In India, the report asserted, Dexamethasone is a small market by value but not by volumes. Citing Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance secretary general Sudarshan Jain, the report said the price of this steroid is less, leading to a smaller market share in terms of value. As of May 31 this year, India saw the sales of 239 million units of Dexamethasone and reported a market size of Rs 104 crore for the drug. It is to note that Zydus Cadila owns a huge share of almost 83 per cent for the drug under the brand Dexona. Wockhardt’s Decdan and Cadila Pharmaceuticals’ Dexasome also cater to this segment.

The global market for this drug can be accounted for $470 million, where around 5.85 billion units sold. Notably, China is major exporter for the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) for dexamethasone and the manufacturing in India is quite small when compared to China.

While Indian pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing this drug, Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra’s COVID-19 task force highlighted that that move is welcomed by Indian health experts but it needs to be studied first before making a decision on its inclusion for treating Coronavirus patients on ventilators. According to the report, he further said that in this country, there are a majority of COVID-19 positive patients that do not require ventilators, but they do need oxygen.

For it, Joshi explained, hospitals are already using corticosteroid IV methylprednisolone so that the patients on oxygen support can be managed. The report highlighted that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has last week recommended the use of this particular drug for moderate cases on oxygen support. If the patient goes on a ventilator, then as per the study by the scientists in the UK, dexamethasone can be used in order to prevent the mortality.

Meanwhile, the caution against this drug has been out for those who are at home or have a mild infection as in early stages, consumption of steroids may aggravate the conditions or prove to be dangerous for people.

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