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India ruling deals blow to German pharma giant

pharma-1An Indian company can sell a generic version of Bayer AG’s cancer drug Nexavar, an appeals court in the country has ruled, potentially leaving global pharmaceutical firms open to similar rulings.

The Indian appeals court’s decision to uphold an earlier ruling could usher in more of the so-called ‘compulsory licences’ as governments in emerging markets attempt to lower healthcare costs, reports Reuters.
Patent system
The Indian patents office last year allowed Natco Pharma to sell generic Nexavar at 8,800 rupees ($160) for a month’s dose, compared to Bayer’s price of 280,000 rupees.
Leverkusen-based Bayer – Germany’s largest drug maker – has said it will continue to fight the ruling, claiming that the Indian court’s decision will weaken the international patent system and endangered pharmaceutical research.
The report cites a global Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which states that countries can issue compulsory licenses on certain drugs that are deemed unaffordable to a large section of their populations.
Affordable
Justice Prabha Sridevan commented that the kidney and liver cancer drug should be available at an affordable price to everybody. However, Bayer contended that challenges faced by the Indian healthcare system have ‘little or nothing to do with patents on pharmaceutical products as all products on India’s essential drug list are not patented’.

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