India generics giant wins cancer drug patent case

September 8, 2012

Indian generics giant Cipla says it has scored a "landmark" court win in a patent challenge launched by Switzerland's Roche Holding over the Mumbai firm's version of a lung-cancer drug.

Delhi High Court Justice Manmohan Singh on Friday ruled that Cipla's drug, Erlocip, did not violate the Roche patent on its anti- medication Tarceva due to its different molecular make-up.

"It's a landmark judgment in a patent case," Pratibha Singh, a patent lawyer who represented Cipla, told Mint newspaper. "The court has taken all efforts to analyse claims of both parties in terms of legality and scientific evidence."

No further details of the judgment were available.

The Cipla court case was being watched worldwide as it involved interpretation of stricter drug patent protection rules introduced by India in 2005 to comply with regulations.

India is the world's leading exporter and manufacturer of non-branded medicines and medical charities have expressed concern that compliance with WTO trade rules could reduce the country's role as a supplier of cheap medicines.

Roche's Tarceva is priced at 140,000 rupees ($2,533) for a month's supply, though it has discount schemes to make the drug more affordable for poorer people, the newspaper said, while Cipla's version is priced at 25,000 rupees.

It was not immediately known whether Roche would appeal the ruling.

The decision could act as a precedent for a string of other Indian generic firms also facing patent challenges from Roche over their versions of Tarceva.

The Delhi ruling came ahead of a high-profile battle expected to start Tuesday in India's Supreme Court over a bid from Swiss firm Novartis for for its top-selling drug Glivec.

The Novartis case could have significant implications for multinational drug firms, determining how much protection they will receive under India's from cheaper generic rivals.

Novartis filed in 2006 a in India for Glivec, used to treat blood and gastrointestinal cancer but a lower court rejected the request, saying the drug was a new formulation of an existing product.

The Novartis' challenge goes to the heart of India's patent act, which says a patent cannot be granted for an old drug unless changes make it significantly more effective.

Explore further: India patent case threatens cheap drug supply: MSF

Related Stories

India patent case threatens cheap drug supply: MSF

September 5, 2011
Supply of cheap, copycat drugs for the developing world could be badly threatened if Swiss firm Novartis wins a challenge to India's patent law, medical charity MSF said on Monday.

NGOs protest Novartis' Glivec patent quest in India

February 23, 2012
Several NGOs protested Thursday at the annual meeting of Novartis against the attempt by the Swiss pharmaceutical group's India company to obtain a patent for its anti-cancer drug Glivec.

Bayer challenges India cancer drug ruling

May 6, 2012
German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG has challenged a ground-breaking Indian ruling that allowed a local firm to produce a vastly cheaper copy of its patented drug for kidney and liver cancer.

Novartis fights patent rejection in Indian court

September 6, 2011
(AP) -- In a case that could affect India's role as drug provider to the developing world, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday over whether the government had the right to deny a patent to Swiss drugmaker Novartis ...

Bayer mulls challenge to India cancer drug ruling

March 13, 2012
Bayer AG said Tuesday it was mulling ways to challenge a ground-breaking Indian ruling allowing a local firm to produce a vastly cheaper copy of a cancer drug made by the German pharmaceutical giant.

Recommended for you

Cancer drugs' high prices not justified by cost of development, study contends

September 12, 2017
(HealthDay)— Excusing the sky-high price tags of many new cancer treatments, pharmaceutical companies often blame high research and development (R&D) costs.

Non-psychotropic cannabinoids show promise for pain relief

September 4, 2017
Some cancers love bone. They thrive in its nutrient-rich environment while gnawing away at the very substrate that sustains them, all the while releasing inflammatory substances that cause pain—pain so severe that opioids ...

Fentanyl drives rise in opioid-linked deaths in U.S.

August 31, 2017
(HealthDay)—Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic, is a key player in America's continuing epidemic of opioid-related overdose deaths, two new studies report.

Eating triggers endorphin release in the brain

August 28, 2017
Finnish researchers have revealed how eating stimulates brain's endogenous opioid system to signal pleasure and satiety.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

August 21, 2017
That statin you've been taking to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke may one day pull double duty, providing protection against a whole host of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever, chlamydia, and malaria.

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ThanderMAX
not rated yet Sep 08, 2012
Good news for cancer patients !
SRJ
not rated yet Sep 09, 2012
'heart of India's patent act, which says a patent cannot be granted for an old drug unless changes make it significantly more effective'
India should charge for every patent being processed even if it is not granted and especially more for such behavior from drug companies.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.