Historic Ruling Against First Modern Drug Patent In India

from the just-the-start? dept

As Techdirt has reported over the last year, the Indian government is becoming increasingly keen on using cheaper, generic versions of important drugs to treat diseases, rather than paying Western-level prices its people can ill afford. Intellectual Property Watch reports on another instance of the Indian authorities easing the way for low-cost versions by striking down a patent granted to Roche for the treatment of Hepatitis C. As the article explains, it's notable for at least two reasons:

the patent granted to Roche in 2006 was the first product patent on a medicine in India after the country switched to a product patent regime for medicines as mandated by the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It is also India's first successful post-grant opposition case.
Getting rid of the first modern drug patent in this way neatly symbolizes the country's aggressive new attitude to Western-held monopolies on medicines. It's interesting that in this case the opposition came not from the Indian government, but from Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, a non-governmental organization, which hopes to source the drug from a manufacturer of generics cheaply enough to be able to give it away for free. This may well inspire post-grant opposition from other organizations seeking to provide cheaper drugs to the sick in India through the use of generic versions.

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Filed Under: generics, hepatitis c, india, patents
Companies: roche


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  1. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 11 Dec 2012 @ 9:34am

    Re: Good luck with that

    So part of the high price you pay for the branded (or high quality generics) is the insane QC process built in drug manufacturing


    But it's a tiny part. I can tell because once a drug patent expires, we see the retail price of the formerly expensive drugs fall dramatically, often to the level of "very cheap". The QC requirements don't change one bit, and it's still profitable to make the drugs at the lower prices.

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