- Bayer has lost its bid to keep generic Nexavar, copycatted by the Indian generic manufacturer Natco, out of the Indian marketplace.
- The generic version of Nexavar (sorafenib), which is used to treat kidney and liver cancers, will cost just $173 per month, versus $5,500 per month for the branded version.
- This case is part of the larger issue of patent violation in India, which the U.S. has put on a "watchlist" of intellectual property violators.
In 2012, the agency that oversees patents in India decided to override Bayer's monopoly on Nexavar, opening the way for Natco to introduce generic sorfenib. The decision is being hailed by Doctors Without Borders as a human rights issue related to patients being able to access life-saving medications.
But the issue is more complicated than that, as patent integrity is a major concern for brand-name drug manufacturers. Novartis also lost an effort to keep up patent protection for its own cancer drug, Gleevec, in India. That medication is marketed as Glivec by Sun Pharma.