labels: Cipla, Roche
Delhi HC upholds ruling in Cipla-Roche cancer drug row news
23 April 2008

Mumbai: The Delhi High Court has upheld an earlier ruling that allowed generic drug maker Cipla Ltd to manufacture and market a copy of Swiss company Hoffmann La Roche's patented lung cancer drug Tarceva in the domestic market.

In March the Delhi High court had passed an interim order that allows domestic drug maker Cipla to sell its version of the lung cancer treatment drug (See: Cipla to continue selling its version of Roche's lung cancer treatment drug). The generic name of the drug at the centre of the lawsuit is Erlotnib, which Roche markets as Tarceva, and Cipla sells as Erlocip. The Delhi High court had asked Cipla to maintain records of Erlocip sales before the next hearing and had admitted a counter-claim filed by Cipla, which questions the validity of the Roche patent.

A division bench of the high court, however, restrained Cipla from exporting 'Tarceva' to those countries where Roche has patent registration for the anti-cancer drug.

"Respondent (Cipla) in the meantime shall, while complying with the order of single bench, not export the drug in the question where plaintiff (La Roche) has patent registration," a bench of Justice Manmohan Sarin and Justice Manmohan said.

The bench also insisted that only one cheaper generic version of the patented drug will be permitted in the local market.

It, however, made it clear that observations made by the single bench shall not be used by any third party as precedent for the purpose of manufacturing the drug.

The bench directed Roche to submit a list of countries where it has got patent registration for the drug.

Roche had on 12 April appealed against the decision of a single-judge bench of the Delhi high court, which refused to restrain Cipla from infringing Tarceva patent in India.

Reacting to the order, Cipla's joint managing director M K Hamied said, he was happy that the court has addressed the company's concern for the cancer patients of India, who will be now able to get this key drug at a cheaper price.

Cipla offers the drug at one-third the price Roche sells in India.

Cipla will also be able to sell the drug in some export markets, including Nepal, Bangladesh and some of the African nations where Roche has not yet secured a patent.

The court also directed La Roche to give the list of countries where it has got patent registrations for the drug.

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Delhi HC upholds ruling in Cipla-Roche cancer drug row