The Indian Patent Office in Mumbai has granted a license to Natco to make and sell a replica version of Bayer’s drug Nexavar, an advanced kidney cancer drug. This could cut the cost by as much as 97%, opening up access to many people who cannot afford the treatment.
Natco, a Hyderabad-based drug maker, will have to pay Bayer 6% royalty rates of their net sales every quarter.
The decision granted a compulsory license, reasoning that Bayer had not met reasonable requirements of the public, and had not worked the patent to manufacture it to a reasonable extent in India. Aside from this, the drug was simply not available at an affordable price.
Compulsory licenses are granted on health grounds by individual countries where patients are unable to access life-saving medicines. While Bayer had global sales of $934 million in 2010, the figures representing their sales in India demonstrated “neglectful conduct” of distribution. Only 2% of 8,842 patients in need of the drug actually received it.
So what’s Bayer have to say about all of this? “We are disappointed by the decision of the Patent Controller in India to grant a compulsory license for Nexavar. We will evaluate our options to further defend our intellectual property rights in India.”
As stated earlier, this could cut the cost of this crucial medicine as much as 97%, opening up access to a whole new realm of people in desperate need of such treatment.
Could this decision help to revolutionize the ‘medical industry’, and corporate power over it, providing care based more on need rather than finance? Do you think a move like this is a step in the right direction?