[Ip-health] Press Release: Indian Patent on Valganciclovir stands revoked

Nivedita Saksena nivedita.sraj at gmail.com
Wed Jul 22 23:15:23 PDT 2015

Patient groups strike yet again: Patent on Valganciclovir stands revoked

22nd July, 2015:  In what comes a huge victory to patient groups around the
world, the Indian Patent office in Chennai, revoked the grant of a patent
on Roche’s Valganciclovir.

Valganciclovir is an important drug for the treatment of active
cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) infection which, if left untreated, can
lead to blindness in persons living with HIV. It is also an important drug
for post operative treatment for patients who have received an organ
transplant. CMV can be effectively treated with oral doses of
valganciclovir consisting usually of 264 tablets given over four months.

Valganciclovir was granted a patent in 2007 which prevented the marketing
of low-cost generic versions of the medicine. Priced at Rs. 1,040 per
tablet, the entire treatment would cost approximately Rs. 2,74,560 per
patient. But with this victory, low-cost generic versions can now be
marketed and made accessible to patients across the world at affordable

Patents allow drug manufacturers to charge exorbitant prices and this,
coupled with the medicine merely being a new form of a known substance, led
Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), Indian Network of People living
with HIV/AIDS & The Tamil Nadu Networking People with HIV/AIDS to challenge
the grant of the patent on Valganciclovir.

The patent was primarily revoked on the grounds that it was obvious i.e. it
did not involve an inventive step and was a known substance under section
3(d) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970. When Roche alleged that the patient
groups were not ‘persons interested’ and are therefore not eligible to file
a post-grant opposition, the Patent Office acknowledged that patient groups
are the end users and are severely affected and ergo, had every right to
challenge the grant of a patent.

Mr. Anand Grover, Director of Lawyers Collective and the representative of
the patient groups in this case, welcomed the decision of the Patent Office
as a “highly significant victory” for the patient groups in India and
across the world.

Mr. Vikas Ahuja, the President of DNP+ said, “Drug manufacturers these days
end up filing patents on older medicines which makes the medicines
unaffordable. We are delighted with this decision and we hope that the
Patent Office continues to scrutinize patent applications strictly to
ensure access to affordable medicines.”

Mr. K.K. Abraham, General Secretary, INP+ said, “We are happy with the
Patent office’s decision and we hope that the implications of this decision
will benefit millions across the globe.”

Contact: Anand Grover: +91 9820184788, Vikas Ahuja:  +919312732495.

Nivedita Saksena
Legal and Advocacy Officer,
Lawyers Collective

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