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Boehringer Ingelheim denied Nevirapine drug patent in India
  20 Jun, 2008, 0050 hrs IST, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Delhi patent office has rejected German pharma major Boehringer Ingelheim's product patent application for its paediatric form of the anti-AIDS drugNevirapine. The drug is syrup given to children with HIV who are unable to swallow tablets. Delhi-based socio-legal group, Lawyer's Collective, had filed a pre-grant opposition to the application in May 2006 on behalf of patients? groups.
Under section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act, new forms of known substances cannot be patented unless there is a significant enhancement of efficacy.
"This is the first decision from the patent offices on 13 patent oppositions filed by Indian civil society groups against HIV-related patent applications. This will set an important precedent for the others that are still pending, "a Lawyer's Collective release said. India has around 2.5 million people living with HIV. Last year, the UK drug major GSK had also withdrawn its application for two ARV drugs.
The hearing on the opposition was held in August 2007, and the German company and NGOs were asked to submit written submissions to the patent office. Indian Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (INP+) and the Positive Women's Network (PWN) had argued that Boehringer Ingelheim's application was not patentable under section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Law.
INP+ president K K Abraham said, "We hope that the other patent offices in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai will take note of this decision, and subject other patent applications on important medicines to strict scrutin
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