Johnson & Johnson TB drug patent renewal rejected in India

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Johnson & Johnson TB drug patent renewal rejected in India

Recently, India rejected Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) attempt to increase its monopoly on a life-saving TB drug.

  • More recently, Johnson & Johnson attempted to ‘evergreen’ the patent for bedaquiline. It is an important drug used for the treatment of multi-drug resistant TB.
  • The patent is used by the evergreen pharmaceutical companies. Under this, an attempt is made to extend the patent period of a drug by making only minor improvements or through other iterations in it.
  • However, these methods do not lead to any increase in the therapeutic efficacy of the drug.
  • Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act (IPA), 1970 prohibits perpetuity of a patent. According to this, if a new form of a known substance is discovered, but there is no increase in the known efficiency of that substance, it is not considered an invention. Thus, the new form would not be eligible for patent.
  • In 2013, the Supreme Court rejected an application filed by Swiss drugmaker Novartis for the anti-cancer drug Gleevec. It said that it is not a patentable invention under section 3(d).

Significance of this step:

  • With this, the cost of medicine can be reduced by facilitating generic drug manufacturing. Thus, wider access to generic drugs would be ensured.

Source – The Hindu

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