Indian health groups welcome country’s first compulsory licence

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 16 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2132
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

India’s controller of patents has granted the country’s first compulsory licence on a patented drug, allowing a domestic drug company to manufacture a generic version of Bayer’s sorafenib tosylate (marketed as Nexavar), used in chemotherapy for hepatic and renal cancers.

Natco Pharma asked for the right to manufacture sorafenib tosylate, saying that it would make available a generic version that would cost patients 8800 rupees (£110; €135; $175) a month rather than the 280 000 rupees a month it costs for Bayer’s product. The controller granted the licence and ruled that Natco Pharma should pay Bayer a royalty fee of 6% on sales of the generic version.

Experts in public health who have been campaigning for better access to inexpensive generic drugs have hailed the controller’s decision, but sections of the pharmaceutical industry have said that compulsory licensing should be invoked …

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