Indian firms and brazilian AIDS patients to be benefit from compulsory licensing

The Brazilian government’s decision to override the patent rights of Merck’s HIV/AIDS drug Stocrin (efavirenz) and buy reverse engineered generic versions of the drug at low cost has come as a boon for Indian pharmaceutical companies manufacturing generic versions of efavirenz such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Aurobindo Pharma and Strides Arcolab.

On Friday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced invoking the compulsory licensing provision for pharmaceuticals under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) agreement on intellectual property – the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) – to buy copycat versions of efavirenz from laboratories certified by the World Health Organisation.

With over 200,000 registered cases, Brazil has the most AIDS patients in Latin America. Of them, only 75,000 patients are currently treated with efavirenz.

Welcoming the Brazilian government’s move, Amar Lulla, joint managing director of Cipla, said it was heartening to note that Brazil has invoked the compulsory licensing provision to treat its HIV/AIDS patients with affordable generic drugs.

“The compulsory licensing provision of the TRIPS help countries to protect the rights of its citizens. We welcome the Brazilian move,” he said.

Lulla confirmed that the Brazilian government was negotiating with Cipla for the supply of these medicines.

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