India's Intellectual Property Appellate board rejected Bayer's appeal fighting a compulsory license to its drug Nexavar. The license was granted last year to the generic manufacturer Natco when authorities determined that Nexavar cost to much for Indian consumers -- patents or no stinkin' patents.
Needless to say, Bayer was not impressed. “The order of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board weakens the international patent system and endangers pharmaceutical research,” the Bayer (BAY) spokesman writes.
Consumer advocates on the other hand were dancing in the streets. “The decision confirms that the Indian patent office is able to use all the means legally at its disposal to check the abuse of patents and open up access to affordable versions of patented medicines,” says Leena Menghaney, the access to medicines campaign manager in India for Medicins Sans Frontierers, also known as Doctors Without Borders. “Most importantly, the decision means that the way has been paved for compulsory licenses to be issued on other drugs now patented in India and priced out of affordable reach.”
This can't be good news for multi-national pharma companies in India if the decision stands -- not unless they want to drop prices by 90%. Ouch! Certainly, there appear to be disincentives developing for Western companies to introduce new drugs to India if their patents are not to be respected.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Mar 4th 2013.