In good news for diabetics, new drug to be 60% cheaper

In good news for diabetics, new drug to be 60% cheaper

Diabetics in the country have something to cheer about. A completely new drug in the SGLT2 Inhibitor (sodium glucose cotransporter-2) family is being introduced here for the first time globally, which promises to disrupt the anti-diabetes market by lowering cost of therapy by nearly 60%.

The drug offers an affordable treatment for millions of type 2 diabetese patients to tackle the debilitating disease which gradually attacks and weakens all body organs. Remogliflozin, developed by Mumbai-based Glenmark, will be priced around Rs 25 for daily therapy, as against other drugs in the same class available between Rs 55-60 per day.

This marks the first global approval to a new drug application by the regulator for an SGLT2 Inhibitor in India. SGLT2 Inhibitors are one of the fastest-selling diabetes drugs globally, totalling $9 billion, while in India they grew by 10 times over three years to nearly Rs 600 crore. At present, the same class of drugs available here are all patented.

Diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with 74 million individuals currently diagnosed with the disease, along with a huge undiagnosed diabetes population.

The economic burden of diabetes is high in India as most patients pay out of their pocket for treatment due to the lack of medical reimbursement. The cost of treatment includes consultation, investigations, drugs and monitoring, and, due to the nature of the disease, the complications related to the disease may increase it substantially.

The SGLT2 category is known to provide glycemic control, induce weight loss and reduce cardiovascular risks, doctors say. Anoop Misra, an endocrinologist, says this is an excellent class (of drugs). For

Remogliflozin, the pricing advantage will be attractive for patients who cannot afford the expensive alternatives, but more robust trials are needed to prove the efficacy and safety. Remogliflozin was discovered and developed by Japanese firm Kissei Pharmaceutical and later developed by GlaxoSmithKline and BHV Pharma, a subsidiary of US company, Avolynt. Glenmark secured certain rights to Remogliflozin through a collaboration with BHV Pharma, and developed the drug and conducted Phase-3 clinical trials on over 600 patients.

Metformin continues to be the first line treatment for patients with type-2 diabetes but as the disease progresses, other diabetes medicines are added, which include Sulfonylureas class (glimepiride, glyburide, glipizide, chlorpropamide), DPP-4 Inhibitors class (teneligliptin, sitagliptin, vildagliptin, linagliptin, saxagliptin) and SGLT2 Inhibitors class (empagliflozin, dapagliflozin, canagliflozin).

According to data from market research firm, IQVIA, the diabetes market in India is estimated at Rs 11,500 crore (MAT March 2019), with that of SGLT2 Inhibitors at nearly Rs 600 crore.


Leave a Reply