[Ip-health] Natco in patent war with BMS

Shailly shailly.17 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 1 02:24:14 PDT 2012


Times of India

Rupali Mukherjee<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toireporter/author-Rupali-Mukherjee.cms>,
TNN | Aug 1, 2012, 03.25AM IST

MUMBAI: Natco, which successfully managed to reduce prices of Bayer's
cancer drug Nexavar by 97% through the country's first compulsory licence
recently, is headed for another major confrontation. This time the tussle
is with drug MNC Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) over Dasatinib, a crucial
medicine used in chronic myeloid leukemia, and is expected to set yet
another precedent for the Indian generics industry fighting against patent
rights of MNCs. Natco's version of the drug costs around Rs 9,000 a month
as against BMS' price of nearly Rs 1.5 lakh.

The key patent issue, which will come for hearing on Wednesday in the Delhi
high court, will throw open a debate on granting "injunctions" against the
generic industry, which in pharma parlance mean—orders to shut down the
marketing and supply of low-priced generic medicines. Sources say
Natco<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/Natco> Pharma
is also filing a contempt petition against
BMS<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/BMS> in
the ongoing case over the Dasatinib drug. That's not all. On Wednesday,
Natco Pharma will file a reply on the contempt petition filed by the drug
MNC, rubbishing BMS' claims as "false assertions".

The case will be keenly watched by the pharma industry and public health
experts, and may finally decide the availability of affordable Dasatinib,
in the country. What seems to have triggered the current round of battle is
Natco's recent launch of its version of Dasatinib after obtaining approval
of the drug regulatory authority from Uttarakhand. BMS then managed to get
an order cancelling the company's licence, which the generic company has
now been able to undo, sources told TOI.
While Natco declined to offer comments on the issue, Bristol-Myers Squibb
said it does not comment on ongoing litigation. Industry experts said the
debate is now on the issue of injunctions and its interpretation. The crux
of the dispute seems to be a Delhi HC order passed in June, which is being
interpreted in different ways by the two companies. BMS is understood to
have interpreted it as an injunction to refrain Natco from selling its
drug, as it was "infringing'' its patent. On the other hand, Natco is
believed to have taken a stand that it is not an injunction as its drug is
not infringing the BMS patent, sources say.

In their pursuit of intellectual property (IP) enforcement agenda, MNC drug
companies normally want injunctions passed against generic firms. In such
cases in the past, courts have considered the impact on access to treatment
and balanced IP with health, before ordering an injunction. The June order
by the court is part of the ongoing case which BMS filed against Natco in
2009, where it argued Natco had plans to make generic versions of


Shailly Gupta

Policy Advocacy Officer

Medecins Sans Frontieres

Access Campaign

C 236 Defence Colony

New Delhi, India

Tel: +91 11 46573730-31

M: 9899976108

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