The compulsory licence on sorafenib: A right step to ensure access to medicines

K. M. Gopakumar | TWN | | Third World Resurgence No. 259 | March 2012, pp 26-28

The Indian Patent Office (IPO) made a landmark order on 12 March to grant domestic drug company Natco Pharma a compulsory licence (CL) to produce the generic version of multinational pharmaceutical firm Bayer’s anti-cancer medicine sorafenib.

This order would allow sorafenib to be made available for Rs8,800 ($173.93) per box that contains 120 100 mg tablets for a month’s treatment, against Bayer’s price of Rs280,000 per box.

However, Natco is not the first generic company to bring this medicine at a lower price. India’s leading pharmaceutical company Cipla had introduced its generic version earlier, only to be subjected to a patent infringement suit by Bayer. The Patent Office order now ensures that low-cost sorafenib would be available in India even if Bayer wins the patent infringement suit. Further, Natco’s price is even lower than Cipla’s price of Rs 28,000 per pack.

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