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Cipla gets relief in patent battle with Pfizer

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 21:23 hrs
Hamied, chairman and MD of Indian generic drugmaker Cipla, poses for picture in front of cabinet containing company's products before interview in Mumbai

In what could mean a major setback for Pfizer, the patent office has again ruled in favour of Cipla, reinstating its earlier decision to revoke the American company's patent for cancer drug Sutent in India, Cipla counsel and managing partner of the law firm Singh & Singh, Prathiba M Singh, told Business Standard.

Following a post-grant opposition by Cipla in October last year, the patent controller had rejected Pfizer's claim for the patent over Sutent. The patent regulator had said the claimed patent did not involve any inventive step. However, after the rejection, Pfizer appealed in the Supreme Court, which reinstated the patent and returned the case to the patent office for a fresh hearing.

After the apex court sent the issue back to the patent controller, the multinational company approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on Cipla selling the drug. In December 2012, the court adjourned the case filed by Pfizer and decided to wait for the patent controller's decision, Singh said.

Pfizer, granted a patent for Sutent in India in 2007, launched the drug at a price of Rs 1.96 lakh for a 45-day treatment.

Cipla's version of the drug is reportedly priced at almost one-fourth of the cost.

The battle over patents on medicines in India has heated up recently after the patent office revoked patents of various drugs.

In 2012, it allowed to Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to make and sell a generic version of German drug maker Bayer AG's patented cancer treatment Nexavar.

In 2012, it allowed to Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to make and sell a generic version of German drug maker Bayer AG's patented cancer treatment Nexavar.


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