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Crippling Dominance of Big Pharma, Indian Judge Blocks Bayer's Drug Monopoly Bid

Judge upholds ruling which protects interests of public health over intellectual property

The Indian court decision may have far-reaching impact on the generic drug market. (Photo: epSos.de/cc/flickr)

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.

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