Mumbai: Cipla Ltd, the country’s largest drug maker by sales, has introduced the world’s first generic version of pirfenidone, a new drug for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF.
IPF is a disease of inflammation that results in scarring or fibrosis of the lungs, which leads to blockage of oxygen supply to the body. This disease had no approved drugs available in till now, and it was treated with only symptomatic relief by giving steroids and immuno-suppressants.
The new drug is currently marketed only in by local manufacturer Shionogi Ltd under a licensing agreement with the inventor Marnak Plc.
Cipla has launched this drug under the brand name Pirfenex, which was approved by the Indian drug regulator early this week. It costs Rs28 per tablet here. IPF has average survival rates as low as 3-5 years, which is less than many cancers. Worldwide there are at least 5 million patients suffering from IPF, and has more than half million patients diagnosed with this condition, according to industry estimates.
The prevalence rate ranges from 175 cases per 1 lakh people in the general population. It usually occur in adults between 40 and 90 years of age and is seen more often in men than in women, and has mortality more than certain cancers.
Respiratory failure is the most frequent cause of death, and has been reported in over 80% patients, said Jaideep A Gogte, head, medical services, Cipla.