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Glenmark cuts diabetes drug cost by 70% with first Indian biosimilar launch

Drug, marketed under the brand name Lirafit, is priced at approximately Rs 100 for a standard daily dose of 1.2 mg

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals

Anjali Singh Mumbai

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Glenmark Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday launched the first biosimilar of popular anti-diabetic drug Liraglutide in India to lower the cost of therapy by about 70 per cent. The drug, marketed under the brand name Lirafit, has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). It is priced at approximately Rs 100 for a standard daily dose of 1.2 mg. This pricing strategy aims to make the drug accessible to patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the country, Glenmark said.

Liraglutide belongs to the class of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), which lower blood sugar levels to manage type 2 diabetes. Clinical trials have shown that the drug is capable of effectively lowering glycemic parameters, promoting weight reduction, and ensuring cardiovascular safety in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
 
Danish drug company Novo Nordisk’s injectable prescription medicine, Victoza, is also a Liraglutide-based medication too and Glenmark’s competitor in the Indian market. Victoza (3ml rDNA Liraglutide) comes in three doses: 0.6 mg, 1.2 mg, and 1.8 mg, which would last for 30 days, 15-days and 10 days, respectively when administered through a pen of 6mg/ml strength (similar to Lirafit). According to online pharmacy websites, Victoza costs Rs 5,324 per dose. According to IQVIA, Victoza had a market size of Rs 27 crore as of November 2023.
 
“Glenmark is proud to introduce Lirafit, a novel and affordable biosimilar of the drug Liraglutide, for the first time in India. With this launch, we have now ventured into the injectable anti‐diabetic market taking another significant stride in the diabetes therapy space,” said Alok Malik, president and business head — India Formulations, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.
 
A study by ICMR-INDIAB found India had an overall weighted diabetes prevalence of 11.4 per cent. The market for GLP-1 RA in India is estimated to be Rs 259 crore, according to IQVIA sales data. 

Glenmark has launched several diabetes care drugs through a series of launches in the last few years. In 2015, the company made an entry into the diabetes treatment landscape with the launch of the DPP4 inhibitor Teneligliptin (marketed as Zita Plus/Ziten) and its Fixed-Dose Combination (FDC) with Metformin. In 2019, Glenmark introduced Remogliflozin. In 2022, they launched Sitagliptin along with its FDCs. In 2023 they expanded offerings with Lobeglitazone (LOBG) and more Teneligliptin combinations. And in 2024, they have entered the injectable market with Lirafit.
 
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, which is headquartered in Mumbai, operates globally in branded, generics, and over-the-counter segments, focusing on therapeutic areas such as respiratory, dermatology, and oncology.

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First Published: Jan 03 2024 | 12:13 PM IST

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