In a major win for Indian drug companies which manufacture generic drugs for major ailments, the India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board revoked Swiss giant Roche’s patent for a hepatitis C drugs. This means that the patent that could have prevented the Indian companies from copying this formula have a free hand.
The “Patients Advocacy Groups” are ecstatic, for they can get cheaper drugs:
“If we get the manufacture of lower-costing generic drugs, millions suffering from hepatitis C — both in India and globally — will benefit,” said patients’ rights lawyer Anand Grover. “This is a big win for hepatitis C patients,” Grover told AFP
The Appellate Board actually overturned the patent granted to Roche by Indian Patent Office earlier. The reason was that the company failed to prove that this was a “new class of drug”.
It seems the multinationals are having it very tough in this large $12 billion Indian market.
Earlier this year, the same board allowed a local firm to produce a vastly cheaper copy of Bayer’s patented drug Nexavar for liver and kidney cancer, saying the $5,300 price charged by the German company was “exorbitant.”
This can mean that the Multinationals may not be wanting to come to India to sell their products, given that the system may be stacked against them. But on the other hand, given the size of the market itself, the returns in other areas may be large enough for them to come in. In any case, the Indian drug manufacturers will continue to make generic drugs out of the patented drugs being brought out by the global MNCs.