August 12, 2003
In view of non-availability of drugs to treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS) -- a chronic disease of the central nervous system -- Pune-based pharmaceutical firm Serum International Ltd (SIL) has started importing Interferon Beta-1A u nder the brand "Rebif" from Switzerland.
We are importing Rebif from Swiss biotech major Serono and marketing it in India," Serum Senior Product Manager Ravi Sakharkar said here.
Rebif was the only registered drug in the country for treating multiple sclerosis, he claimed.
Though Rebif has a rival in Avonex from Biogen, the SIL Manager pointed out, it is not registered in the country.
Serono has developed Rebif using high-tech genetic engineering process, which can improve the quality of life of the MS patients, prevent relapses and delay further progression.
Multiple Sclerosis, usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 40, can strike any time, blind or paralyse and last for days, months or forever.
Sakharkar explained that a 44 mcg dose of Rebif is recommended thrice a week and injected subcutaneously, i.e., just below the skin.
Supplied in single ready-to-use pre-filled syringe with a price tag of Rs 10,925, in India, Rebif is registered for use in more than 70 countries worldwide with the US FDA approval.
Claiming that Interferon Beta-1A was the best drug to treat MS, Sakharkar
said that clinical trials had shown that the drug was able to reduce the
frequency of attacks, number of relapses, decrease their severity and increase
the proportion of patients w ho remain relapse-free in a given time period.
Copyright © 2003, The Hindu