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Rediff.com  » Business » Bristol-Myers rolls out hepatitis B drug

Bristol-Myers rolls out hepatitis B drug

July 12, 2006 12:07 IST

Bristol-Myers Squibb India, the wholly owned subsidiary of the $19.2 billion US pharmaceutical company, has launched Baraclude, its anti-Hepatitis B drug in India.

Baraclude, an entecavir oral formulation for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis B virus infection was approved by the Drug Controller General of India recently, for marketing in India.

Baraclude is one of the important prescription drugs from the BMS'global portfolio. The drug is available in tablet form in India, which would cost about Rs 208 per tablet.

The new product, an oral antiviral therapy specifically designed to block the replication of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the liver, is indicated for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis B virus infection in adults.

Chronic Hepatitis B infection is a potentially life-threatening disease with more than half a million people worldwide die each year from hepatocellular carcinoma, a cancer caused by chronic Hepatitis B.

India has intermediate endemicity for Hepatitis B infection with prevalence for chronic infection of 4 per cent. An estimated 36 million people are chronically infected with the Hepatitis B virus, most of which are established during early childhood.

Hepatitis B infection is reported to be responsible for 80 per cent of the cases of cirrhosis of the liver and 60 per cent of HCC. It was estimated that 12,750 new cases of HCC were diagnosed in 2001 in the country.

With the approval and launch of Baraclude in India, Bristol-Myers Squibb will now be able to address another area of significant unmet medical need: Chronic Hepatitis B", said Eric Breumier, managing director, Bristol-Myers Squibb India.

BMS has launched this product in 21 countries in the world including China, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysi, Macau, Indonesia, Australia in the Asia Pacific region.

The US pharma major, which forayed into the Indian market by setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary last year, had already introduced two products in the oncology segment, it has plans to launch few more products, which included Baraclude.

The company has about 10 focus areas, which includes oncology, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, cardio-vascular, neurosciences and Alzheimer's disease. It is looking at all the segments and will launch products according to the Indian needs.

It plans to manufacture and market pharmaceutical and healthcare products, nutritional products and medical devices in the domestic market. The company also plans to export from here, besides sourcing raw material, intermediaries and final products.
BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai
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