There is always a lot going on in the world of BigPharma. A recent court case in India suggests that the Indian Government will allow local manufacturers to produce generic versions of in-patent drugs that are simple derivatives of existing drugs.
India’s law restricts pharmaceutical companies from obtaining new patents for small modifications to existing drugs. This restriction offers protection to Indian manufacturers of these class of drugs.
Typically these generic forms of simple-derivative drugs are sold to the developing world, who are unable to afford the prices charged in the developed world.
As all rosacea sufferers know, Oracea is 30 mg immediate release and 10 mg delayed release form of doxycycline. Doxycycline is an old drug that has long passed out of patent protection.
Although not proved in court, Oracea could reasonably be considered a small modification to doxycycline.
As several drug makers battle for permission to make generic oracea in the US, it might take an Indian manufacturer to make generic oracea available.
By South Asia correspondent Michael Edwards, wires
Updated Tue Apr 2, 2013 9:00am AEDT
India’s supreme court has ruled against Swiss drug giant Novartis in a landmark case that activists say will protect access to cheap generic drugs in developing nations.
Novartis fought a seven-year legal battle to gain patent protection for an updated version of its leukaemia drug Glivec.
Glivec sells in developed nations for more than $3,000 for a month’s worth of treatment, but a generic version is sold in India for less than $200.
India’s huge generic drug industry has been a major supplier of copycat medicines to treat diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis and AIDS for those who cannot afford expensive branded versions.
Novartis and other global drugmakers say India’s generics industry inhibits pharmaceutical innovation and reduces the commercial incentives to produce cutting-edge medicines.
The verdict could see other global drug firms restrict the sale of their branded medicines in India, a pharmaceutical market that is set to touch $71 billion in sales by 2020 from $10.6 billion in 2011.
India’s copycat drugs industry, which supplies one-fifth of the world’s generics, grew into a powerhouse because the country did not issue drug patents until 2005 when it began complying with World Trade Organisation rules.