Patent Denied On AIDS Drug In India

from the better-to-keep-people-healthy... dept

A few months back, we noted that the PubPat Foundation was seeking to invalidate eight patents held by Abbott Labs in the US concerning the HIV/AIDS drug ritonavir (branded as Norvir). PubPat noted that there was significant prior art that should have precluded those patents from ever being granted. While we'll probably be waiting a long time to hear about that, over in India, it appears that the Patent Office has decided to come right out and reject Abbott's attempts to patent ritonavir, noting that it did not appear to involve the necessary "inventive step" to constitute an invention. Not surprisingly, Abbott is not happy about all this, and is looking at its options -- meaning not only should you expect to see a lawsuit, but just wait for lobbyists to start complaining about how India doesn't live up to its "international obligations" in protecting international patents.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Some Indian Guy, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 10:14am

    An opinion

    The western pharmacy companies are humongous giants who make a living off of people's sickness. They engineer drugs so that when you take one medicine you need others as well. This they call a market strategy. Monsters.

    While we don't have the crazy stringent copyright laws like the West, and we do suffer from almost paralyzing corruption amongst politicians, the doctors and medicine men are honest enough to actually heal their patients. Medicines in India are very easy and cheap to get, you don't need insurance for everything, and a corporate-free life is still possible.

    Let's see how long this lasts. Maybe a decade.

     

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  2.  
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    Some guy from the U.S., Jan 5th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Some Indian Guy,
    You may be correct about getting drugs cheap in India but most of them are counterfeit, past patten life, or expired. The amount of R&D that goes into making medicine is astronomical. It is not uncommon for a pharmaceutical company to spend 10 years researching a drug before release. Also keep in mind we are talking about pattens and not copyright law.
    There are also two distinct classes in India the wealthy and the poor (there is a small middle class but it is very small). I can guarantee you that the poor and I mean dirt poor do not get what they need.
    Look at the infant mortality rate of India in comparison to the United States.
    India: 49.13 per 1000 (July 2010)
    United States: 6.76 per 1000 (July 2010)
    Imagine morality rate with out pharmaceutical innovation.

     

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  3.  
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    Scott (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Price Gouging

    Norvir was one of the first in a class of drugs call protease inhibitors. As a stand alone (as part of HAART) it had lots of side effects and quickly became a back bench drug when new ones came out and the price reflected that. It was then discovered that low dose norvir boosted many of the other aids drugs and thus its use dramatically increased at which point Abbot increased the price EIGHT TIMES the original price. They should have lost their US patent too, but here money trumps everything else

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: Price Gouging

    Not that I agree it was a smart thing to do from a PR point of view, but I do have to wonder what you would do if you suddenly found yourself in the possession of something significantly more valuable than was previously the case?

     

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  5.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    You may be correct about getting drugs cheap in India but most of them are counterfeit, past patten life, or expired.
    I think that that is a statement that needs some justification. While there may be problems with some of them being manufactured from sub-standard ingredients your statement goes way beyond what is justifiable.

    The amount of R&D that goes into making medicine is astronomical. It is not uncommon for a pharmaceutical company to spend 10 years researching a drug before release.
    But the drug companies spend more on marketing than on research!

    Also keep in mind we are talking about pattens and not copyright law.
    The word is "patents".

    There are also two distinct classes in India the wealthy and the poor (there is a small middle class but it is very small).

    As in the US these days - and increasingly given current trends.

    I can guarantee you that the poor and I mean dirt poor do not get what they need.

    because they are poor and because US pharma is constantly trying to push up the cost of medicines - so what is your point?

    Look at the infant mortality rate of India in comparison to the United States.
    India: 49.13 per 1000 (July 2010)
    United States: 6.76 per 1000 (July 2010)
    Imagine morality rate with out pharmaceutical innovation.

    Sorry - medicines have little to do with infant mortality - it is mainly down to public health issues like hygiene, clean water and so on.

     

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  6.  
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    teka (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Price Gouging

    The point is that these pharma concerns are always going on about how they have to recover their incredible outlay in R&D (despite R&D budgets ending up behind Promotional budgets.. another story)

    Here we have a sudden price increase after this mature drugs pricing had been low. Did they suddenly discover that they forgot to pay some ad agency, had to make up the difference?

    Or is it possible that this is just another money grab at the expense of, well, Everyone?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    DIY yourself drugs is the way to go, I no longer want them to produce the drugs for me, most of it can be manufacture in a kitchen today. If you know how to cook you are a chemist, but just don't know it yet.

    Those things that happen is why, I no longer have confidence in a system that train people to be amoral or else they wouldn't be able to be totally efficient in what they do, those people make money on the suffering of others and they can't afford to be sympathetic, this is not their job, their job is to extract money from you and if you don't have it you need to find a way to do it without what they offer or even die.

    Will we let this madness continue for how long?

    Han Tzu said it 3 thousand years ago, that the best weapon you have against your enemy is his laziness, you do for him everything he is not willing to do and soon enough he will be totally dependent on you for everything, this is what Big Pharma did with the population of the USA, this is why you pay through the nose for medical assistance, we let them do things for us, we surrendered our freedom willingly and now is time to get it back.

    Is just me or anybody think that when insurance companies are willing to pay international travel for medical procedures in a far away country because it is cheaper than doing at home is there something very wrong with that system?

    Want to start doing something there is a model to follow.

    http://www.patchadams.org/

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    About costing billions of dollars.

    If it cost that much in reallity why is that people with little to no money are doing it?

    http://tropicaldisease.org/
    http://www.iowh.org/
    http://www.dndi.org/
    http://www.patientsl ikeme.com/

    For me what is wrong is how they do things, is no efficient as it could be.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Also Big Pharma has no intention of finding any cures for anything, they make money by selling treatments not cures.

    If we want cures we will need to do it ourselves.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 3:54am

    India has little interest in granting patents for any medical breakthroughs (except those from it's home grown companies) because they make significant amounts of "patent busting" generic drugs inside the country. If you want a source for a medication that is currently patent in the rest of the world, and you want it cheap, India is the place.

    I am surprised that TD doesn't know this basic fact (or choses to ignore it).

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 5:10am

    Re:

    It is equally shocking that you choose to ignore or is ignorant off that is not just India, Brazil started the trend, followed by India, China and Russia.

    Shocking you didn't know that Brazil didn't even recognize drug patents until very recently with some manufactures there openly saying "We copy it so what?! there is no law against it."

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 5:44am

    Shock and awe.

    Brazil to break patent, make AIDS drug (in 2001)

    Brazil to break Aids drug patents
    (in 2004)

    Brazil to Break Patents on U.S. Films, Books, Drugs (Update2) (in 2010)

    Brazilian Generic Drug Registration Sets Standard For ‘Pipeline’ Patents (in 2010, talking about the law from 1996 that changed things in Brazil)

    Tougher drug patent regimes in Brazil, and need for emerging market growth, luring back western companies, says FT Brazil: A model response for AIDS?

    Brazil to break Merck AIDS drug patent

    China may break Aids drug patents (in 2002)

    Asian Patent Wars (2010 view through the eyes of a patent defender of what is happening in Asia with many countries revoking drug patents and China just ignoring the whole thing becoming the biggest bootlegger of drugs in the world)

    Thailand and the Drug Patent Wars (in 2007)

    By the looks of it, it seems not many people in the world share the view that patents are being useful in their current form, this backlash against patents is a symptom of a problem, things are not working and markets are trying to find a way to stabilize taking away patents.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    A better model would foster cooperation, will try to reduce friction.

    That model is open source drug production.

    Were nobody try to protect knowledge, we all contribute and we all make a living out it which benefits everyone.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    staff, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Credible on patent matters?

    'PubPat Foundation'

    Has their director, Dan Ravicher, ever practiced patent law? Has he ever filed a patent application or ever litigated, licensed, or sold an invention? In short, does he have any first hand knowledge of the patent system? To our knowledge he does not other than a brief stint with one law firm of a couple of months. He did not graduate from law school until 2000 and started Pubpat in 2003 according to his bio on a Stanford web page. Yet he claims to have “extensive experience litigating, licensing, prosecuting, and otherwise counseling clients with respect to patents” as on the Echoinggreen web site.

    Credible on patent matters? No more so than Masnick who has even less knowledge.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Re: Credible on patent matters?

    Don't be afraid it won't hurt a bit I promise.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 9:00am

    Re: Credible on patent matters?

    Has their director, Dan Ravicher, ever practiced patent law?

    I love how, to you, the only people allowed to comment on patent issues are those who are abusing the system.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Credible on patent matters?

    The gentleman is admitted to practice before the USPTO as of 04/01. However, it is clear that the totality of his experience practicing before the USPTO is relatively limited (somewhere in the order of about a second year or so associate). However (again), it is also noteworthy that he apparently clerked for Judge Rader at the CAFC, a judge held in the highest regard for his knowledge of patent law. Doubtless Judge Rader mentored and imparted to the gentleman a valuable education during his clerkship.

    Would I term him an expert? Likely not. Would I term him as being well familiar and conversant in the law? Likely yes.

     

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