SINGAPORE – India's generic drug makers will play an "essential" role in introducing Covid-19 therapeutics in low- and middle-income countries, according to a United Nations-backed public health agency.
Charles Gore, executive director of Medicines Patent Pool, which is committed to improving access to medicines in developing countries, told CNBC on Wednesday that most of the drug manufacturers it is already working with to accelerate access to coronavirus treatments are doing theirs Are based in the South Asian country.
That number will only increase if leading pharmaceutical companies license their treatments for mass production.
"There could be a really important role for Indian generic drug makers," Gore said of the fight against the coronavirus, which has infected more than 56.1 million people to date – 8.9 million in India alone.
This photo, taken September 2, 2020, shows a worker showing syringes at the Hindustan Syringes factory in Faridabad.
SAJYAD HUSSAIN | AFP | Getty Images
India is home to the world's largest generic market and has previously proven to be instrumental in distributing low-cost medicines, especially to poorer countries.
The same goes for this pandemic, Gore said, especially as countries are forced to pay for treatments and vaccines.
"That will be especially important when countries have to pay for these drugs themselves. It will indeed be essential," he said.
The thought that vaccines will completely solve this in the next two years is too optimistic. We will urgently need the therapeutics …
Managing Director, Medicines Patent Pool
Gore's organization is currently working with major drug developers to obtain licenses for their treatments so that generic drug makers like the one in India can make "cheaper" but still "high quality" versions for poorer countries.
While some treatments are showing promise, none are ready, Gore noted, and expects more data to come within the next three months.
Gore added that he was borne by more positive news from vaccine developers this week. However, he noted that adoption will not come quickly and therapeutics will continue to be vital.
"The thought that vaccines will completely solve this in the next two years is overly optimistic. We will still desperately need the therapeutics, the drugs for people who actually get sick," he said.