Delhi High Court allows Cipla to sell generic cancer drug

The Delhi High Court has dismissed German pharmaceutical company Bayer Healthcare's petition to stop Cipla from marketing a generic version of the anti-cancer drug Nexavar for which Bayer holds a patent.

In November last year, Bayer had moved the high court and prevented the Drug Controller General of India from giving marketing permission to Cipla alleging patent infringement.

Bayer reportedly contented that Cipla's unpatented drug was spurious. The chemical name for Nexavar is sorafenib tosylate, and Bayer had obtained a patent to sell the drug in March 2008.

The court held that unpatented drugs were not spurious and that the petition was an attempt to tweak public policy. Bayer has been asked to pay Rs6.75 lakh to cover legal costs to the government and Cipla.

A legal NGO called Lawyers Collective, also participated in the litigation process along with the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA).

Bayer's case depended on a linkage between regulatory approval of a drug for marketing and its patent status, a linkage not approved by the court.