Now made in India: Affordable, multi-layered oral thin films for bed-ridden patients

Updated: Apr 04, 2018, 11:14 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Expensive imported oral thin films used for bedridden patients may become thing of the past with Nagpur-based pharma company making India's first multi-layered version


Medicines administered to bedridden patients in the form of oral thin films might get a whole lot cheaper in India soon. A Nagpur-based pharmaceutical company has produced the country's first multi-layer oral thin films (OTF), making the otherwise imported medicines inexpensive and more accessible.

The India-developed film, made by Zim Laboratories, has already received approval from Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and will be available at a price similar to that of the tablets.

In 2015, CDSCO gave the lab the approval manufacture and market OTFs of two medicines: Montelukast sodium and Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride used for treatment of allergies and asthma (mid-day has a copy). These melt-in-the-mouth films are usually given to bedridden patients who cannot gulp down tablets. They are especially useful for those suffering from cancer, asthma and cardiac ailments.

FDA approves
"We decided to work on developing multi-layer OTFs after getting a good response from patients on the one-layer oral films. Our hard work bore fruits and FDA approved the product, which would soon be released in the market," said Dr Anwar Daud, managing director, Zim Laboratories LTD.

Multi-layer OTFs are fused with two or more OTFs each containing different medicines that have to be taken together in their required dosage. It can also be used to take two doses of same medicine available at one time. They also make poorly soluble drugs more soluble.

Boon for patients
"The technology is suitable for the delivery of drugs through the normal gastrointestinal tract after dissolving in the mouth or even getting absorbed directly into the blood, showing improved bioavailability," said Someshwar M Mudda, a pharma expert.

"As far as I know, no multi-layer OTF has been manufactured by an India-based company. We have to import it from USA. If this company has manufactured it, then it would prove to be a boon for many patients," said Damji Palan, president, Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association (RDCA).

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