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
    E G Nyquist (profile), 11 Dec 2012 @ 2:00am

    Re: Hate it

    It has been for some years that people in poorer countries, especially the developing world, have been essentially held hostage by western corporations and their influence on governments, WTO, and the world bank. From medication that actually costs more in Asia or Africa than it would in the US or UK, to forcing farmers to use seeds that are crippled so that they cannot be replanted...forcing them to buy them from Monsanto every harvest.

    India has been one of the worst victims of this post-colonial imperialism; and It is good to see the yoke breaking more and more.

    When one gets rich at the cost of human lives, when one benefits from human misery and suffering... You do wonder how they sleep at night. I would say these sorts of poeple, though they are wealthy and powerful, are the enemies of mankind, and are perhaps among the only human beings that truly deserve death; and sadly they'll be the last ones to suffer for the consequences of their actions.

    Unless, of course, the Hindu belief in reincarnation has merit.

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