Pharma major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has decided not to
patent its anti-AIDS drug Combivir in India.
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.
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
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.
application for patent also goes against the government''s
move to supply essential drugs at affordable prices,
they pointed out.
NGOs also held demonstrations in front of GSK office
demanding withdrawal of its patent application on Combivir.
sources, however, said the company''s move is in public
interest and is part of its policy of routine review
of patent applications.