Mumbai: The Indian government may not be showing adequate interest in a litigation in the Delhi high court that involves a controversial patent linkage to drug approval, say experts.
The lawsuit is based on a writ petition filed by Germany’s Bayer AG, which earlier secured an injunction preventing regulator Drug Controller General of India from approving a generic drug application of its patented drug Sorefanib in India by local drug maker Cipla Ltd.
Judgement awaited: Bayer AG’s headquarters in Germany. Wolfgang von Brauchitsch / Bloomberg
The high court heard arguments on the case on 17, 18 and 25 February and the additional solicitor general representing the government was not present, said a lawyer involved in the lawsuit. He did not want to be named as the case is still in court.
The judgement in the case is now reserved though the court is yet to specify a date for its judgement.
A health ministry official said the government has presented an affidavit in the court. This official, who is not authorized to talk to media, declined comments on the absence of the additional solicitor general.
“This nonchalance on the part of the government in a matter of such serious import for patent law and public health is deeply troubling,” said Shamnad Basheer, a patent expert, who analysed the court hearing in his patent blog Spicy IP on 28 February. But Prathibha Singh, who represented Cipla in the court, said the government’s standing counsel Gourav Duggal was present. “Duggal did not argue for the government as the court didn’t have much time. When an affidavit is submitted by the government in a court, a further argument on its stand is not very essential,” Singh said.
Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, an industry lobby representing domestic drug makers, has already strongly expressed its concern over the government’s apathy on this important issue to the departments concerned.