A division bench of the Delhi high court on Tuesday upheld an earlier ruling that allowed India’s generic drug maker Cipla Ltd to manufacture and market a copy of patented lung cancer drug Tarceva in the domestic market.
It also insisted that only one cheaper generic version of the patented drug will be permitted in the local market.
Vindicated? Yusuf Hamied, chairman and managing director of Cipla.
But it should not be treated as a legal precedent until the appeal is settled. The court said so after hearing an appeal filed by Swiss drug maker F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd against the earlier ruling. The court also ruled that Cipla should not export this cancer drug from India to other markets where Roche has a patent.
It directed Roche to submit a list of countries where it has got patent registration for the drug. The decision of the two-judge bench, which heard the Roche appeal, will help Cipla make a strong pitch in the local market as well as in some of the export markets including Nepal, Bangladesh and some of the African nations where Roche has not yet secured a patent.
Cipla offers this drug at one-third the price Roche sells in India.
Roche had on 12 April appealed against a March decision of a single-judge bench of the Delhi high court, which refused its plea for an injunction to restrain Cipla from infringing Tarceva patent in India.
Girish Telang, managing director of the Roche Scientific Co. (India) Ltd, the wholly owned Indian subsidiary of Roche, told ‘Mint’ that he had “faith in the Indian judiciary and today’s judgment had confirmed it.”
In his reaction, Cipla’s joint managing director M.K. Hamied said, “We are happy that the court has addressed our concern for the cancer patients of India, who will be now able to get this important drug at a cheaper price.”
Cipla had, in February, launched Erlocip despite Roche’s patent for the molecule in India that was granted in 2007. The case will come up for hearing on 12 May.
Bhuma Shrivastava contributed to this story.
Ahluwalia against commodity tax
New Delhi: Deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia disagrees with the imposition of the commodity transaction tax (CTT) imposed on the trade of commodity futures in the Budget. “Transaction taxes have not worked in any part of the world, although finance ministry may have its own logic of imposing CTT. I, personally feel, a surcharge on brokers’ income could have been an effective tool to tap revenues and avoid speculation (if any) in the commodities market,” Ahluwalia said on the sidelines of a conference on “Taxation of Transactions” organized by the Invest India Economic Foundation and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy on Tuesday. The introduction of CTT was denounced by academics and industry leaders alike who branded it as a “retrograde step”.
Susan Thomas, professor of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, pointed out the adverse effect that Swedish Exchange met after the imposition of securities transaction tax (STT) in 1983. Percy Mistry, chairman, Oxford International felt CTT “hurts risk management that is the core function of a futures market.” Joseph Massey, managing director of Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), argued that, “the commodity markets in India are still in their infancy, the CTT will surely be their death knell.”
Jubilant reports 49% rise in Q4 revenue
New Delhi: Jubilant Organosys Ltd, which makes chemicals and drugs, has reported a 49% rise in revenues to Rs689 crore for the quarter ended March 2008, on the back of strong performance in pharmaceutical and life science product and services.
The consolidated net profit, however, fell 8.8% to Rs58.2 crore as against Rs63.8 crore in the year-ago period, a company release said on Tuesday. Diluted earnings per share, or EPS, for the quarter stood at Rs3.22 compared with Rs3.59 in the same quarter last year. The board of directors of the company has recommended a 150% dividend on fully paid-up equity shares of Re1 each for the year ended 31 March 2008, the release added.
Some members of the Bhartia family, who run Jubilant, have a majority stake in HT Media Ltd, publisher of Mint.
GVK Power net profit surges 134% y-o-y
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad-based company with interests in power, roads, airports and urban infrastructure GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd has announced a growth of 25.71% in revenue at Rs 532.14 crore and 133.51% increase in net profit at Rs135.47 crore for the year to March 2008.
The company has reported a growth of 151.86% in other income at Rs62.16 crore for the fiscal under review against Rs24.68 crore of other income in the previous year. The interest burden has come down to Rs41.37 crore from Rs62.7 crore in the fiscal to March 2008.
The company’s power segment, which improved its revenues at Rs320.49 crore from Rs273.83 crore a year ago, suffered a fall in profit at Rs35.88 crore from Rs55.26 crore. The roads segment improved its profit at Rs82.42 crore on revenue of Rs136.86 crore from a profit of Rs67.49 crore on revenue of Rs115.8 crore a year ago.
Singhania opposes IIM panel’s fee cut demand
Ahmedabad: Vijaypat Singhania, chairman of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, has opposed the IIM review committee’s demand to roll back the fee for its two-year post graduate management programme, and said the institute would not reconsider its decision unless directives are issued for the same by the ministry of human resource development.
In a letter to N.K. Sinha, joint secretary, department of higher education, Singhania, questions the committee’s suggestion asking the institute to reduce its fee to December 2007 levels.
IIM-A is holding its faculty council meeting on Wednesday to consider various issues raised by the IIM review committee, a day before the committee visits the campus.
The institute’s board of governors is to meet on 26 April.
IIM-A said in early April that its board of governors has recommended raising the fee for its two-year management course to Rs5.5 lakh for the first year and Rs6 lakh for second year.
The Review Committee has suggested lowering the fee to Rs3 lakh, which the board had fixed in its December 2007 meeting.
Reliance Retail in Indian JV with Office Depot
New Delhi: Reliance Retail Ltd said it has formed a 49:51 joint venture with U.S.-based stationery retailer Office Depot Inc. for office supplies business in India in which Office Depot will hold the majority stake.
The joint venture has acquired Indian supplier of office stationery products to businesses, eOfficePlanet, for an undisclosed amount in a bid to get a foothold in the country’s estimated to be $10 billion (Rs39,900 crore) annual market.
Bijou Kurien, Reliance Retail’s president and chief executive for lifestyle, said the joint venture will initially invest $30 million – that includes acquisition of eOfficePlanet, to provide office products and services to business customers in India.
Mint had reported in February 2007, that Reliance and Office Depot are in talks for a joint venture. Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd has also tied in 50:50 joint venture with another US office supplies retailer Staples Inc. for a similar business in India.
News broadcasters release content code
New Delhi: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), a body representing leading news broadcasters in the country, on Tuesday, released a content code and a set of regulations that members have agreed to practice.
The code and the regulations have been submitted for the consideration of the government, an NBA release said.
The code will serve as a guideline for practicing self-regulation, it said, adding: “The purpose is to define editorial principles which are consistent with the tenets of the freedom of speech articulated in the Constitution of India, the regulatory framework and common sensibilities of television viewers.”
The code says as a guiding principle, sting operations should be a last resort of news channels in an attempt to give the viewer comprehensive coverage. The code has been vetted by Harish Salve, former solicitor general of India.
‘Steel makers must think long, avoid windfall gains’
Jamshedpur: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday advised the domestic steel industry not to “manipulate” the market, given the sector’s growth potential, and avoid looking at short-term gains.
In town in connection with the year-long centenary celebrations of Tata Steel Ltd, Singh said the industry ought to take a long-term view and that it must “not fall prey to the temptation of seeking windfall gains from market manipulation.”
The Prime Minister referred to the spiralling prices, saying focusing on short-term gains “in a period of excess demand” would hurt consumers and disrupt economic stability.
In his welcome address, Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman said the industry was “living in unprecedented times”. Steel prices were spiralling due to rising costs of raw materials, energy and freight, and the way to counter it was through creating new steel facilities.
Straying from his prepared speech, Muthuraman called for speeding up of allocation of mines, as “the global steel market is at the mercy of two or three countries and three or four companies which control mining internationally.”
The Prime Minister, who earlier visited Bokaro, said the “steel industry has made progress, but it has to make further progress to fulfil the country’s demand,” while laying the foundation stone for the modernization and expansion of Steel Authority of India Ltd’s Bokaro Steel Plant.
Earlier in the day, finance minister P. Chidambaram had charged the industry with ‘cartel-like’ behaviour in Parliament.
PTI contributed to this story.