Delhi HC bars Cipla from selling Novartis’ respiratory drug

Delhi high court bars Cipla from selling copies of Novartis respiratory drug Onbrez in India, upholding the patents held by the swiss drug maker


Novartis had moved the court seeking to permanently restrain Cipla from manufacturing indacaterol in any form and selling it in India, alleging infringement of its patent.
Novartis had moved the court seeking to permanently restrain Cipla from manufacturing indacaterol in any form and selling it in India, alleging infringement of its patent.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday barred Cipla Ltd from selling copies of Novartis AG’s respiratory drug Onbrez in India, upholding the patents held by the swiss drug maker.

“We would not like to interfere with the order of the single judge citing patent infringement by Cipla. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed,” said Justice Badar Ahmed Durrez.

The court was hearing an appeal by Cipla against an order passed by Justice Manmohan Singh in January 2015 which restrained Cipla from selling copies of indacaterol.

Cipla manufactured and sold indacaterol powder under the name “Unibrez”. It had later changed the name of the product to “Indaflo” pursuant to an order of the court on a trademark infringement plea by Novartis.

Novartis had moved the court seeking to permanently restrain Cipla from manufacturing indacaterol in any form and selling it in India, alleging infringement of its patent.

It submitted that it held patents for indacaterol maleate salt as well as the manufacturing process for the drug, which was sold in India as an inhalation powder and inhaler under the trademark name of Onbrez through its licencee Lupin Ltd since 2010.

Cipla had argued that the drug as sold by Novartis was too expensive and made available only to government hospitals because of which is was not easily available to the public.

Gopal Subramanium, a lawyer representing Novartis, told the court that even though the product was imported, there was no shortfall in availability of the drug in India.

It had also given a representation to the Centre to revoke the exclusive patent rights granted to Novartis, claiming that the pharma firm was not working the patent in India.

Novartis claimed that Cipla was trying to commercialise the drug and use the formula which had been developed by Novartis after having invested substantially in research.

Novartis claimed that Cipla was trying to commercialise the drug and use the formula which had been developed by Novartis after having invested substantially in research.

“Patents are the foundation of innovative drug discovery and essential to advancing medical science and treatments for patients,” said Jawed Zia, country president, Novartis in India. “The active ingredient indacaterol is protected by a compound patent until 2020 and by other patents covering, for example, methods of producing indacaterol. As part of our endeavour to broaden access to patients, Novartis collaborates with various local partners to make its innovative drugs more widely available in the country.”

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