In the wake of the avian flu outbreak, domestic drug companies Cipla and Ranbaxy have offered to produce generic versions of Roche’s Tamiflu. While both companies are confident that there are no patent issues involved, a section of the industry is concerned that this could turn into a test of the country’s new patent laws.
Tamiflu — generic name oseltamivir — is one of the two drugs effective in treating influenza caused by the H5N1 strain in humans. But the drug is under patent globally. Though it has not been granted a product patent in India, the new set of laws make it eligible for one.
“As a matter of caution, India should have invoked the compulsory licensing clause in the patent law to allow domestic companies to make oseltamivir without having to worry about legal repercussions,” DG Shah, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), said. In fact, the IPA, a body of leading domestic firms, had submitted a memorandum to the government in October last year suggesting the move.
Recall an earlier post on IPBiz mentioning Indians referring to a Roche application.