SC order boosts access to medicines

Source: The Times of India

13 Dec 2014

MUMBAI: In a move which will bring cheer to patients and generic companies pursuing affordable treatments, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Bayer’s appeal on the compulsory licence (CL) issued on kidney and cancer drug, Nexavar. The Supreme Court set aside the special leave petition filed by the MNC in October against Bombay high court’s decision of upholding the CL on Nexavar, legal sources told TOI.

In 2012, while issuing the country’s first CL, the government had allowed Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to make and sell a patented cancer drug at a fraction of the price charged by Germany’s Bayer AG.

The development which concludes the legal proceedings on the country’s first-ever CL, should encourage more companies to come forward to pursue this provision, legal experts say. After the first CL got into a series of litigation, most domestic firms had shied away from pursuing the route, and hence from, offering affordable treatments.

Over the last two years, Bayer has unsuccessfully challenged the order before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), and later at the Bombay high court.

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