To no one's surprise Bayer has gone back to court to challenge the India Patents Office decision to award a compulsory license to the generic manufacturer Natco to make Bayer's patented anti cancer drug Nexavar. The IPO invoked compulsory license rules citing Bayer's high selling price ($5500 per patient/month) as preventing most India patients from using the drug. Natco will sell its version for $175 or a 97% decrease.
“We will rigorously continue to defend our intellectual property rights which are a prerequisite for bringing innovative medicines to patients,” a Bayer spokesman writes us. “The 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. Rather, the order of the Patent Controller of India damages the international patent system and endangers pharmaceutical research."
“This is the trivial argument Big Pharma has been making for years to cover the impact of its monopoly pricing policies,” writes Brook Baker, a professor in the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy at the Northeastern University School of Law, and a member of Health Gap, Global Access Project. “Of course, there are other barriers to access, but does Bayer want to seriously argue that medicine priced 60 times more than the newly announced Cipla price doesn’t adversely impact access?"
Bayer unmoved, appears ready for an all out legal fight, you could say "they are going to the Madras" on this one.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 7th 2012