US pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) said it is “concerned” about the “blatant” patent violation in India over two of its blockbuster anti-diabetes drugs — Januvia and Janumet.
“We do obviously have concerns. I am personally very disappointed in the current happenings in terms of the infringement case that’s going on that we are currently facing for our diabetes drugs Januvia and Janumet — and I am very concerned for a number of different reasons,” Kevin Ali, president, emerging markets, MSD told HT in an interview.
MSD holds an Indian patent on sitagliptin, a chemical compound sold under the Januvia and Janumet brands.
MSD is locked in a legal battle with Mumbai-based Glenmark over the latter’s low-cost version of the drug — Zita and Zita-Met, which MSD has contested as infringing upon its patents.
“I think potentially one needs to have further dialogue in order to ensure these kinds of blatant violations don’t happen in future when people hold a strong for a compound patent in the country. That needs to be discussed. I would like to clarify that our disappointment is with Glenmark’s action of infringement of our compound patent and not with the patent law,” he said.
Glenmark has maintained that its products have been launched after due-diligence and research.
“I am concerned about the fact that patent law is critical to continue to foster an environment of innovation in India and all the stakeholders that I talk to in India are very proud of the relatively new patent law,” said Ali.
Experts are keenly watching patent disputes over medicines in India, particularly after the Supreme Court, in a recent landmark judgment, rejected patent protection for Swiss drug major Novartis’ anti-cancer drug Glivec.
“We have a very sound and strong patent. It meets the criteria of being very strong patent. Still it is in its early phases of commercialisation for long term. We have patent till 2022 in India for Januvia and Janumet and we are only in 2013,” said Ali.