Board revokes patent on Roche hepatitis drug

MUMBAI Fri Nov 2, 2012 7:23pm IST

A pharmacist gives medicine to a patient inside a government hospital in Kolkata July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

A pharmacist gives medicine to a patient inside a government hospital in Kolkata July 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's patents appeal board has revoked a patent granted to Roche's hepatitis C drug Pegasys, citing a lack of evidence the drug is superior tp existing treatments, and its high price.

The decision is another setback for large pharmaceutical companies in India, which earlier this year granted the first ever compulsory licence to domestic drugmaker Natco (NATP.NS) to sell cheap copies of Bayer AG's(BAYGn.DE) cancer drug Nexavar.

Global drugmakers see India's $12 billion drug market as a huge opportunity, but they are wary of protection for intellectual property in a country where generic medicines account for more than 90 percent of sales.

Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, an advocacy group for cheaper medicines, challenged the Pegasys patent with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, saying the drug was costly and gave the Swiss company a monopoly in the market for the drug.

The market price of Pegasys is 436,000 rupees for 48 weeks of treatment, and it is also available at a discounted price of 314,496 rupees, Sankalp said in a statement.

Pegasys is to be taken in combination with another drug, ribavirin, which costs 47,160 rupees for the same period, Sankalp added.

The appeals board on Friday termed Sankalp's plea "valid."

Roche, which can appeal the decision to India's Supreme Court, could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Kaustubh Kulkarni; Editing by Tony Munroe and Helen Massy-Beresford)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Oil Prices Fall

Oil Prices Fall

Brent near four-year low after OPEC decides against output cut  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

India says considering plan to reduce stake to 52 pct in state banks   Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

Summit salvaged after handshake by leaders of India, Pakistan  Full Article 

Social Media

Social Media

Twitter to start tracking users' mobile apps  Full Article 

Forever21 in India

Forever21 in India

Forever21 sets sights on Indian cities, but please hold the hot pants  Full Article 

Japan Economy

Japan Economy

Japan inflation slows in October, output and spending show signs of recovery  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage