The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tim Shenk,Press Officer,Direct: 212-763-5764,E-mail:,

Indian Court Gives Boost to Access to Medicines as Latest Appeal by Bayer is Rejected


In a welcome move for access to medicines, the Delhi High
Court has rejected the appeal filed by the German pharmaceutical
company Bayer Corporation against an earlier court order which had
rejected the implementation of a drug regulatory system which
essentially linked registration of medicines to their patent status.

In August 2009, the Delhi High Court had rejected the petition filed by
Bayer Corporation, seeking to stop the Drug Controller General of India
(DCGI) from granting marketing approval to a generic version of a
cancer drug patented by Bayer.

"We are delighted with this decision - at the moment in India we are
seeing a number of multinational pharmaceutical companies trying to use
litigation to stifle generic competition," said Dr. Tido von
Schoen-Angerer of Medecins Sans Frontieres' Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.
"By rejecting Bayer's attempts to introduce patent linkage, the Indian
courts have ensured that public health safeguards like compulsory
licensing can be used to open up generic production of life-saving
medicines including antiretrovirals for millions in India and beyond.
We hope this judicial precedent of safeguarding public health in patent
disputes will continue, as matters such as these, and the forthcoming
Novartis case go up to the Supreme Court."

Anand Grover, counsel for Cancer Patients Aid Association added: "In
India, we do not have a patent linkage system. The patent system and
the drug regulatory system are two separate and independent mechanisms
and this is Parliament's intent. We hope that Bayer and other
pharmaceutical companies respect this fact. A patent holder cannot use
the DCGI, a government agency, to enforce its private rights. This was
an attempt to introduce a TRIPS-plus requirement in India, which has
been rejected."

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.