Another day, another pharma patent dispute in India -- ostensibly over the price of a drug. This time it is Bristol-Myers Squibb that faces a possible compulsory license for its cancer drug Sprycel. It seems BDR Pharmaceuticals wants the license so it can cut the price of the drug in the Indian market from $1570 a month to a claimed $130 per month target.
The issue certainly seems much less about the validity of the patent (not an evergreening issue) and is more centered on the cost of the drug for India's populace. The Indian government and patient advocates have increasingly citicized western drug manufacturers for charging more than the Indian (and other emerging) markets can bear. Increasngly, compulsory licensing is being looked at as an avenue to correct these price inequities.
BMS and other similar Western companies (including Bayer, Roche, Novartis, etc) have begun to complain about the lack of patent protection and respect and this issue is becoming increasingly contentious. Don't look for it to go away anytime soon either. See Pharmalot.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Sep 13th 2013.