In a major relief to Mumbai-based drugmaker Cipla, the Patent Office of India revoked German firm Boehringer Ingelheim’s patent on asthma drug Spiriva, paving the way for the Indian firm to continue selling its generic version of the drug in the Indian market.
Cipla’s chairman YK Hamied said that the company has been committed towards providing affordable medicines in India. “We have been marketing Tiova (Cipla’s generic version) in India. I think if we would have lost the case, the people of India would have suffered since we would have had to withdraw the product from the market,” he said.
Cipla had challenged the patent, arguing that Tiotropium bromide monohydrate, sold under the brand name Spiriva, did not demonstrate any significant change in “therapeutic efficacy”. Cipla has been marketing the drug since 2003. The 92-page order says in effect that simply tweaking the structure of a molecule doesn’t make it eligible to be patented because it doesn’t have any material impact on the therapeutic efficacy of the drug. FE