Cipla, AIDS groups oppose Roche`s AIDS drug patent in India

Pharmaceutical firms such as Cipla, Matrix and AIDS patient group- Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), have filed post-grant opposition against Swiss multinational Roche's patent for its HIV drug valganciclovir at the Chennai Patent office., a drug used during organ transplantation and by HIV/ AIDS patients.   

According to a release, the Chennai patent office granted the patent to Roche last year without hearing the arguments of the two NGOs which had filed pre-grant opposition against the drug, a DNP+.

The NGO opposed the patent on the grounds that Valganciclovir is a ‘new form’ of an already known substance with no improvement in efficacy. DNP+ also alleged that many patents granted by the Chennai patent office were rejected in the US.

According to the release, Roche holds the patent for the drug in other countries and charges $10,000 for a four-month supply of oral Valganciclovir. In India, the price for a full course of treatment is over Rs 2,70,000. The high cost of the drug prevents lakhs of HIV patients from getting treatment while substituting it with intravenous injections.

DNP+ president, Loon Gangte said that the treatment being expensive, many people are losing their livelihoods as well as their vision.