Impact of Covid-19 on the Anti-Viral Drugs Market
Corona Virus (Covid-19) has impacted every single industry, causing steep roads into the global economy. One such industry that has had both positive and negative impacts is the anti-viral drugs market. Coronavirus has negatively impacted by causing disruptions not only in the production of pharmaceuticals but also caused troubles in the supply chain. However positively it has impacted by showing great results in treating covid positive patients.
The concerns started aggravating by the fact that COVID-19 struck first, and worst, in China, which is the world’s one of the leading producers and exporters of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) by volume. The majority of APIs for generic drug manufacturing across the globe are sourced from India, which also supplies approximately 30 percent of the generic APIs used in the US. However, Indian manufacturers rely heavily on APIs from China for the production of their formulations, procuring around 70 percent from China.
With an indefinite lockdown in China due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, supplies of raw materials from China to produce drugs for treating HIV, cancer, epilepsy, malaria, and also commonly used antibiotics and vitamin pills, are also likely to be hit.
There are various steps or policies undertaken by countries to reduce dependency on China for API.
For example, India is focusing on four steps to tackle supply chain challenges:
- Sustainable financing and tax relaxation
- Pharmaceutical regulatory relaxation
- Providing special economic zone for domestic pharma hubs
- Reliable supply chain management
However, on the bright side, certain anti-viral drug manufacturers are gaining due to the hit of coronavirus. Moreover, various pharmaceutical manufacturers are focusing on the development of anti-viral for the treatment of COVID.
- Gilead’s stock was up by about 13% between February 1, and March 12, after the WHO declared a global health emergency. The growth in GILD stock in a falling market is attributed to its Remdesivir drug, which is being tested for the treatment of Covid-19. Gilead Sciences has already filed 133 coronavirus patents related to Remdesivir in 43 countries and has been granted coronavirus patents in several countries, including the United States, China, and Japan. The patent states that Remdesivir is useful for treating “Filoviridae virus infection” to which family the novel coronavirus belongs.
- Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) by AbbVie was considered as a potential treatment for COVID-19 by Chinese health authorities in January 2020. Hence, AbbVie donated approximately USD 2 million of Aluvia as an experimental option to help address the growing health crisis. AbbVie is also working with the WHO to ensure a coordinated global effort.
- In April 2020 Strides Pharma Science Ltd. announced that it has developed and commercialized Favipiravir antiviral tablets that have demonstrated positive outcomes in Covid-19 treatment globally.
- Pfizer’s anti-viral Prevnar 13 has seen an unexpected jump in sales, probably due to the course of the coronavirus, which in severe cases causes pneumonia with high mortality rates. Additionally, Pfizer also announced its global collaboration agreement with BioNTech to jointly develop an mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine.
- Enanta Pharmaceuticals has announced its plans to develop antiviral drug candidates to treat COVID-19 patients. The company is testing compounds from its existing antiviral compound library for potential efficacy in treating COVID-19. It has also launched a drug discovery program to develop direct-acting drug candidates to treat COVID-19.
- Darunavir a protease inhibitor marketed by Janssen has shown positive results against COVID-19.
- In May 2020 WHO has donated Gilead’s Remdesivir and Merck’s Interferon to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for solidarity trial in India. Global Solidarity’ is an international clinical trial to compare four treatment options against the standard of care to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19.
Conclusively, the only true exit strategy to cope with COVID-19 is finding a vaccine or a drug that is FDA approved. Till then anti-viral drugs stay as a savior in the treatment of covid-19. And to stay as the first line of treatment anti-viral drug manufacturers need to keep up with demand, despite suppliers’ factories shutting down production, reduced factory working hours, dependency on China for API, limited workforce, and often, the shutdown of research and development.