India's Hetero Labs Ltd has priced its generic version of remdesivir, Gilead's experimental COVID-19 drug, at 5,400 rupees ($71) per 100-milligram vial, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, June 24 as it prepares to ship them to hospitals in the country.

The privately held company said it would supply 20,000 vials of the drug. Fellow Indian drug firm Cipla Ltd had said on Tuesday that its own version of the antiviral drug remdesivir would be priced below 5,000 rupees.

Gilead's Remdesivir authorised for emergency use only
Gilead's Remdesivir authorised for emergency use onlyShutterstock

Cipla and Hetero are among a bevy of drugmakers which have licensing agreements with U.S.-based Gilead Sciences Inc, the original manufacturer of remdesivir, to make and sell the drug in 127 low- and middle-income countries.

India has approved the generic versions made by Cipla and Hetero for restricted emergency use in severe COVID-19 cases.

India, the fourth worst-hit nation with of 456,183 cases 

The treatment was the first to show improvement in trials on COVID-19 patients and has won approval for emergency use in severely ill patients in the United States and South Korea, and received full approval in Japan. It is yet to be priced in the United States.

India, the fourth worst-hit nation by the coronavirus, reported a total of 456,183 infections and 14,476 deaths on Wednesday.