India on Wednesday launched its first indigenously launched anti-malaria new-age drug ‘Synriam'. The drug, produced by Ranbaxy Laboratories, was formally introduced for marketing here.
The drug, launched by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in the presence of Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, has been developed by the company in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology and supported by the Indian Council for Medical Research.
Malaria claims half a million lives every year globally and India contributes to 77 per cent malaria cases of the 2.5 million cases of malaria reported annually from South East Asia.
The dual-molecule combination drug conforms to the recommendations of World Health Organisation (WHO) and will be required to be taken only once a day for three days.
The drug Synriam is to be used to treat uncomplicated “Plasmodium falciparum” malaria in adults. It provides relief from most malaria-related symptoms, including fever, and has a high cure rate of over 95 per cent.
“Today, India joins the elite club of the countries to have developed a new drug indigenously for malaria on the occasion of World Malaria Day,” Ranbaxy Laboratories CEO and MD Arun Sawhney said.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Azad said the drug should be made accessible and affordable so that poor and needy can purchase it as they are the ones who are most exposed to malaria.
After commencing research on the drug in 2003, the company received the Drug Controller General of India's (DCGI) approval in 2011 to manufacture and market it in India.
The drug is efficacious and has the advantage of “compliance and convenience” as it can be taken at any time before or after meals. The course is one tablet a day for three days. Unlike artemisinin-based drugs, it has a synthetic source, the production of which can be scaled up whenever required and a consistent supply of the drug can be maintained at low cost.
The company has spent close to $ 30 million on research and development of the drug, of which the Government of India contributed a total of Rs. 5 crore.
The company also plans to introduce the drug in African countries once the clinical trials are completed and the necessary regulatory approvals are received.
Company's President (R&D) Sudershan Arora said the clinical trials in Africa will be over by the first quarter of 2013 and the drug could be introduced in the same year after getting the necessary approvals there.