Hetero gets emergency nod for tocilizumab use

Published on Sep 07, 2021 03:35 AM IST
Hyderabad-based Hetero’s version of the drug will be available from September-end.
The drug was in short supply as infections and hospitalisations surged during the pandemic’s second wave.(AFP)
The drug was in short supply as infections and hospitalisations surged during the pandemic’s second wave.(AFP)
Livemint | ByNeetu Chandra Sharma, New Delhi

Drugmaker Hetero on Monday said its generic version of Roche Holding AG’s tocilizumab, an immunosuppressant used to treat severe cases of Covid-19, has been given emergency-use approval in India.

Hyderabad-based Hetero’s version of the drug will be available from September-end.

“This approval is crucial for supply security in India, considering a global shortage of tocilizumab. We will be working closely with the government to ensure equitable distribution,” said Dr. B. Partha Saradhi Reddy, chairman, Hetero Group.

The drug was in short supply as infections and hospitalizations surged during the pandemic’s second wave, with patients having to pay multiples of the drug’s price to procure it. Cipla is the sole distributor of Roche’s tocilizumab in India.

Hetero said the authorization by the regulator will allow doctors to use it for treatment of covid in hospitalized adults who are receiving systemic corticosteroids and require supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Tocilizumab is used with steroids to soothe an excessive immune response in severe covid patients. It was originally developed to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Tocilizumab is also part of India’s Covid treatment protocol, though as an off-label drug. Hetero’s Tocira will be marketed by its associate company ‘Hetero Healthcare’ in India.

Hetero is among several Hyderabad-based companies which are involved in India’s fight against the contagious disease.

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