Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda: As India pushes for compulsory drug licences,others looking for the new twists

As India pushes for compulsory drug licences,others looking for the new twists

The fight over drug patents in India is quickly spreading to  other areas  as other countries are looking at new twists on the model for getting their hands on cheaper drugs.

BDR Pharmaceuticals  has asked the Indian patent office to give it a compulsory license for a generic version of  BMS’s  cancer drug Sprycel (Dasatinib). Earlier Indian Supreme Court upheld the country’s first compulsory license granted last year to Natco Pharma to make a generic version of Bayer's kidney cancer drug Nexvar. It justified the decision to override the patent on prices. Natco began selling Nexavar for $170 a month, compared with Bayer's $5,000/month.

Others companies have also seen patents breached in recent months. Pfizer suffered the loss of IP protections on its cancer drug Sutent ( Challengers : Cipla & Natco ) and Roche's patent coverage on the hepatitis C treatment Pegasys been revoked.(
Challengers : Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust)  Novartis  is still fighting for patent protection on its blood cancer treatment Gleevec (Challengers : Several Indian drug companies, Government of India)   and the Indian government has moved toward compulsory licenses on Roche's Herceptin.

Proponents of the aggressive attacks on patents say it is the only way for poor people in emerging countries to have a chance of getting the same lifesaving treatments that others in the world enjoy. It is an argument that has traveled well. 

China granted itself compulsory licensing rights last year but has yet to exercise them. Now a lobbying group is pushing Greece to adopt a compulsory license law, but not so Greek companies could make generics. The idea is that once the patents are neutralized, Greece could import cheap generics from other countries, like India.

Under India’s patent rules, compulsory licences can be issued when an inventor company fails to supply products at an affordable price. In such instances, other companies can go to court to get a licence to make the same products.

Reacting to  the such developments some U.S. Congress members said if India is going to continue to play loose with patent protections, maybe the U.S. needs to rethink an exemption for India on import duties that comes up for renewal in July.

source:  several online  media & publications

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