[Ip-health] Reuters: India rejects patent on Pfizer's arthritis drug

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Sep 7 07:14:35 PDT 2015


http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/07/us-pfizer-india-patent-idUSKCN0R70UF20150907

Business News | Mon Sep 7, 2015 4:59am EDT


India rejects patent on Pfizer's arthritis drug

MUMBAI

The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in New York April 28,
2014.
REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY

India has again denied Pfizer Inc a patent on its rheumatoid arthritis drug
tofacitinib, the latest setback for a multinational drugmaker seeking to
enforce its intellectual property rights in the country.

Pfizer sought a patent that covers an important chemical formulation of the
active compound in the medicine, but the Indian Patent Office said the
company would have to establish that the compound for which it is seeking a
patent is therapeutically more effective than the active compound.

"The invention disclosed and claimed in the instant application ... is not
considered as an invention under the provisions of the Act," Bharat N S, an
assistant controller at the patent office, wrote in an order dated Sept. 3.

Pfizer is reviewing its options for further action, a Mumbai-based company
spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Drug patents have become a thorny issue for global drugmakers seeking to
expand in India's fast-growing healthcare market.

Companies including Pfizer, Bayer and Roche have in recent years struggled
to retain exclusivity on drugs in India, and have blamed patent laws they
say are designed to favor the local industry.

India, however, has said its drug patents policy is designed to ensure
medicines remain affordable for the country where less than 15 percent of
the population has health insurance.

India's patent office had rejected Pfizer's application to patent
tofacitinib in 2011, but was ordered to reconsider the decision by the
Intellectual Property Appellate Board, after Pfizer appealed.

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Miral Fahmy)



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