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India revokes patent for Merck asthma drug

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India revokes patent for Merck asthma drug


India revokes patent for Merck asthma drug


    NEW DELHI: India has revoked a patent for an asthma drug held by US-based Merck following a challenge from local pharmaceutical giant Cipla, marking a new blow to global drug firms in the Indian market. The development is the latest in a string of patent revocations by India and involves interpretation of patent protection rules introduced in 2005 to comply with World Trade Organisation regulations.

    The drug produced by Merck & Co, a global health care company, was "not inventive", said the order announced late Tuesday. Schering Corp, later acquired by Merck, had applied for a patent for the asthma drug in 2004 and was granted it in 2011. Medical charities have expressed concern that compliance with WTO rules could reduce the country's role as a supplier of low-cost medicines. India is the world's leading exporter and manufacturer of non-branded medicines.

    But Western firms -- looking to countries such as India for sales growth -- have voiced criticism of poor brand protection in India.
(Channel News