ZURICH (Reuters) - India has partly revoked patents granted to Roche Holding AG for its breast cancer drug Herceptin, a spokesman for the drugmaker confirmed on Sunday.
Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag reported that the Kolkata Patent Office had lifted divisional patents for Herceptin on July 17 on the grounds they had not been properly submitted.
“I can confirm that the Assistant Controller of Patents at the Kolkata Patent Office has revoked divisional patents of Herceptin and that we are now considering the further course of action,” a spokesman for Roche said.
The decision is the latest in a series of rulings on intellectual property and pricing in India that have frustrated attempts by Western drugmakers to sell their medicines in India’s fast-growing drugs market.
On Friday, India revoked a patent granted to GlaxoSmithKline’s for breast cancer drug Tykerb, following on from a landmark court ruling in April disallowing patents for incremental innovations.
Roche has already adapted its business model in India to increase affordable access to drugs and try to stave off trouble from India’s patent authorities.
In August 2012, it introduced cut-price versions of Herceptin and another cancer drug MabThera, under an alliance with Indian generics firm Emcure Pharmaceutics.
Last year, India revoked patents granted to Roche’s hepatitis C drug Pegasys, Pfizer Inc’s cancer drug Sutent, and Merck & Co’s asthma treatment aerosol suspension formulation. All were revoked on grounds that included lack of innovation.
Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Andrew Roche