Cipla gets HC nod to manufacture cancer drugs

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New Delhi, Mar 19 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today refused any relief to the Swiss pharma Company 'Hoffman La Roche' ,which sought restraining 'Cipla' from manufacturing and selling anti-Cancer drug 'Tarceva' stating that it was a violation of their patent's right.

Justice S Ravinder Bhat passed an interim order allowing 'Cipla' to continue making the drug as there is a huge price difference and would effect an enormous number of patients.

The court directed the Cipla company to maintain accounts of sales figures for calculation of damages to be awarded to 'Hoffman' if they succeed in the present case.

Taking note of the huge price difference between the products of two companies, the court said "the drug should be available in the market as many patients would be effected. The balance has to be titled in the favour of the people as compared to the Company's interest, the court said.

The Swiss company had approached the Delhi High Court after it found that Cipla was planning to launch a generic version of the drug, Tarceva(Erlotinib), in India and export the same to various countries.

The tablet formulation of "Erlotinib" is sold by 'Roche' under the trademark and name 'Tarceva' claiming to be benificial to the patients suffering from advanced or metastatic non small cell lung cancer.

The Swiss company had applied for grant of patent in respect of the drug and its process which was granted in February 2007 by the Controller General of Patents, Trademarks and Designs, New Delhi and any use by other companies is violation of their rights, their lawyer said.

Cipla Company, however contended that this is a necessary drug and like most countries, an urgent licence can be issued for manufacture of the essential drugs. In India not many people can afford the Swiss formulation therefore the need to make the drug which was less in price was much in demand.

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