‘Nexavar’ Attains Judicial Nirvana
The Curious Case of Sorafenib tosylate, as I had put it earlier, has finally reached its climax. In an order passed on 12 December 2014, the Supreme Court of India has declined to interfere with the order passed by IPAB upholding the grant of Compulsory License to Natco Pharma for the drug ‘Nexavar’. Supreme Court’s order has finally put a full stop to the first chapter of Compulsory Licensing related to a Patent in India. This means that Natco Pharma can freely market the generic version of the drug till year 2020, when the Patent will expire.
The compulsory license was granted on the ground that only a small population had access to the drug at an exorbitant price of around Rs.2,80,000. The order was earlier challenged by Bayer in the Bombay High Court that refused to interfere with the original decision of IPAB.
The order is significant not only because it has been decided by keeping the interest of general public at its helm who was deprived of such an essential drug, but also for concluding a prolonged judicial battle whose disposal was curiously awaited. However, the court in its order has kept all questions of Law open for now, which means this order alone cannot be used as a precedent till a detailed judgment is not released. As far as branded drug makers are concerned, this is a double whammy after what happened to Novartis a few years back. Only time can tell how much impact this finished chapter will cause in the Pharmaceutical Sector. Meanwhile, it seems cancer patients in India can extend their Diwali celebrations till the upcoming New Year.