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Cancer drug: Natco Pharma told to file reply by Aug 25

Posted on Aug 21, 09:22PM | IANS

The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) Tuesday asked the Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to reply by Aug 25 on Bayer Corp's plea against the issuance of licence to it to sell the generic equivalent of Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar.

The board adjourned the hearing to the first week of the next month while declining to impose any costs on Natco Pharma for not filing its reply till date. It also refused to order a stay on the latter's licence to make and sell generic cancer drug sorafenib tosylate.

Bayer Corp, the north American subsidiary of German company Bayer AG, filed the petition challenging the March order of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks of compulsorily licensing Natco Pharma to market the generic version of Nexavar.

Bayer filed the petition against Natco Pharma, the controller of general patents and the central government.

Incidentally, this was the first time that the compulsory licence provision in the Indian Patent Act was invoked in India.

Bayer's drug costs around Rs.280,000 for a month's course whereas Natco Pharma sells the same for around Rs.8,000 for a month's course.

Arguing for Bayer, senior counsel Sudhir Chandra said the licence given to Natco Pharma had international ramifications and had caused severe injury to his client.

He said another pharma company, Cipla, was also selling the same drug at around Rs.5,000 for a month's course.

Later speaking to reporters, Chandra said: "The court has taken note of the fact that injury is caused to Bayer. They will not grant any more time to Natco to file its reply. Natco has to file its reply by Aug 25."

Speaking to IANS by phone from New Delhi, Natco Pharma's counsel Rajeshwari Hariharan said the replies will be filed by Aug 25.

She said many countries like Canada, Brazil, Thailand and others had similar compulsory licensing provisions and India was not an exception.