labels: industry - general, pharmaceuticals, glaxosmithkline
GSK withdraws patent plea for AIDS drug Combivir news
21 August 2006
Mumbai: Pharma major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has decided not to patent its anti-AIDS drug Combivir in India.

GSK''s anti-retroviral drug Combivir has been facing opposition from NGOs and healthcare activists in the country who hold that the drug is not a fit case for patent. The activists also fear that patenting would push up prices of the drug.

The company had filed the patent application for Combivir, which is a combination of Epivir and Retrovir, nearly eight years ago. Combivir is a widely used, fixed-dose combination and used mostly in projects run by several international organisations.

The Indian Network for People Living with HIV / AIDS and the Manipur Network of Positive People had filed a pre-grant opposition at the Kolkata patent office stating the drug was not a new invention. The NGO had claimed that Combivir, a fixed-dose combination of two essential AIDS drugs, zidovudine and lamivudine, does not deserve an exclusive patent right as both these drugs are already off the patent list.

The application for patent also goes against the government''s move to supply essential drugs at affordable prices, they pointed out.

The NGOs also held demonstrations in front of GSK office in Bangalore demanding withdrawal of its patent application on Combivir.

GSK sources, however, said the company''s move is in public interest and is part of its policy of routine review of patent applications.


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GSK withdraws patent plea for AIDS drug Combivir