* India's BDR Pharma seeks compulsory licence on cancer drug
* BDR Pharma offers to sell generic dasatinib at 8,100
By Kaustubh Kulkarni
MUMBAI, March 18 (Reuters) - BDR Pharmaceuticals has applied
to India's patent office for a compulsory licence to sell a
generic version of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's cancer drug
dasatinib, a BDR executive said on Monday.
Under a global Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, countries can issue
compulsory licences for certain drugs that are deemed
unaffordable to a large section of their populations.
If approved, the compulsory licence would be another setback
for global drugmakers in India. German firm Bayer AG
lost an appeal earlier this month challenging the first such
Indian licence, which was granted to Natco Pharma on
cancer drug Nexavar.
Dasatinib is a blood cancer drug sold as Sprycel by
Bristol-Myers Squibb and costs about 165,000 rupees ($3,050) for
a month's treatment in India.
India's BDR Pharmaceuticals had unsuccessfully sought a
voluntary licence from Bristol-Myers Squibb to sell a copycat
version, Aravind Badiger, technical director at the Indian firm,
said in an emailed response to a Reuters' query.
Officials at U.S.-based Bristol-Myers Squibb could not
immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.
BDR Pharma filed its application seeking a compulsory
licence on March 4 and has offered to sell the drug at 8,100
rupees for a month's dose, Badiger said.
"We expect the patent office to respond at the earliest," he
said in the email.
Natco Pharma already sells a generic version of dasatinib in
India, which is the subject of a legal battle with Bristol-Myers
Generic drugs account for about 90 percent of India's $13
billion drug market. While India holds promise for global
drugmakers facing slower growth in developed markets, big
pharmaceutical firms have lost several rulings on intellectual
property rights in recent years.
Among those setbacks, India revoked patents granted to
Pfizer Inc's cancer drug Sutent, Roche Holding AG's
hepatitis C drug Pegasys and Merck & Co's
asthma treatment aerosol suspension formulation.