In a move that advocates are saying is a "momentous" win for public health, an Indian court on Friday rejected a bid from multinational pharmaceutical giant Bayer to block a local generic drug company from mimicking their costly cancer drug.
Bayer had attempted to appeal a 2012 decision by India's patent controller, who had argued the monthly $5,500-per-person cost charged by Bayer for the liver and kidney drug Nexevar was too costly for most Indians. The Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma's version of the drug costs roughly 97% less.
Friday's court's decision highlights India's "critical role" in "balancing intellectual property and public health," Leena Menghaney, South Asia regional head of Medicins San Frontieres (MSF)/ Doctor's Without Borders' regional access campaign, told AFP.
Observers are saying that the decision may have far-reaching impact on the drug market because of India's dominance in the pharmaceutical industry. AFP reports:
India'a Lawyers' Collective, another rights group, said the "momentous" judgement held wide-ranging implications for access to other medicines.
India's vast generics industry is a major supplier of cheap copycat, life-saving drugs to treat diabetes, cancer and other diseases afflicting people locally and globally who cannot afford expensive branded versions.