[Ip-health] Dow Jones Newswires on Natco request

Peter Maybarduk pmaybarduk at citizen.org
Wed Jan 5 06:15:39 PST 2011

Natco Pharma Seeks 'Compulsory License' For Copy Of Pfizer
Drug		#article_body p{margin:0 0 15px
Natco Pharma Ltd. (524816.BY) said Wednesday it has informed Pfizer
Inc. (PFE) that it wants to make and sell a low-cost generic version of
the U.S. company's maraviroc for treating the HIV infection under a
so-called "compulsory license." 
Natco Pharma's move is significant because, if successful, the Indian
generic drug maker will set a precedent for other Indian companies to
override multinational drug makers' patents for the treatments of
diseases ranging from cancer to hypertension. 
Natco Pharma wants to sell its generic version of maraviroc in India at
INR15,000 for a month's supply, compared with the INR65,000 price tag
for Pfizer's branded version, a spokesman for the Indian drug maker told
Dow Jones Newswires. 
Indian patent laws allow applications for the grant of a "compulsory
license" three years from the date a patent has been given. 
According to an Economic Times newspaper report earlier Wednesday,
Pfizer got the patent for maraviroc in January 2007. Pfizer wasn't
immediately available to comment. 
Natco Pharma could get permission to make and sell a low-cost copy of
maraviroc in India under a "compulsory license" for the remaining term
of the patent if it can be established that the patented product isn't
available to the public in the country at an affordable price. 
Ranjit Kapadia, vice president of institutional research at HDFC
Securities, said that obtaining this compulsory license could be a long,
drawn-out process, given the lack of clarity on various aspects of this
provision in the Indian patent laws. 
This isn't the first time the Hyderabad-based drug maker has sought
such a licence. 
Natco Pharma in 2008 sought permission under the "compulsory license"
provision to make the generic versions of two cancer drugs, namely
Pfizer's Sutent and Roche Holding AG's (ROG.VX) Tarceva, to export to
But the Natco Pharma spokesman said the company didn't pursue these
applications with the Indian patent office after Nepal showed
disinterest in the move. 
Several multinational drug makers have found fault with India's
application of patent laws, despite amendments introduced in 2005 to
bring the country in line with standards approved by the World Trade
The multinational drug industry relies on the protection of
intellectual property for innovation to fund the high cost of research,
but India's patent office and courts have been less inclined to defend
patents on a number of occasions, contending that prices have to be kept
low so the country's vast, and mostly poor, population can afford
Some multinational drug companies have retaliated by cutting off
investments into India. 
-By Rumman Ahmed, Dow Jones Newswires; 91-9845104173;
rumman.ahmed at dowjones.com 

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