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Eli Lilly’s push for a favourable patent regime comes at a time when a lobby of US drug makers has termed the intellectual property environment in India as “weak”. Photo: Bloomberg
Eli Lilly’s push for a favourable patent regime comes at a time when a lobby of US drug makers has termed the intellectual property environment in India as “weak”. Photo: Bloomberg

Eli Lilly bats for a favourable patent regime in India

Eli Lilly wants a more favourable patent regime that 'rewards innovation' and would welcome an open dialogue from the government in this respect

New Delhi: Global pharma company Eli Lilly wants a more favourable patent regime in India that “rewards innovation" and would welcome an open dialogue from the government in this respect.

“We are an innovation-driven company," said Edgard Olaizola, managing director, Eli Lilly. “That means that it takes years for us to develop a medication. It’s a risky business because we spend years and millions of dollars to develop a medication. It is very important for us to have an environment that really rewards innovation," Olaizola told Mint last week in Delhi.

Eli Lilly’s push for a favourable patent regime comes at a time when a lobby of US drug makers has termed the intellectual property (IP) environment in India as “weak". In its annual Special 301 Report that reviews the state of IPR (intellectual property rights) protection among the US’s trading partners, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said India’s legal and regulatory systems pose procedural and substantive barriers at every step of the patents process. PhRMA, a body representing leading pharma and biotech companies in the US, has added the country to its priority watch list.

Olaizola added that the government should make sure there is a consultative approach with all the stakeholders involved and which is transparent. “We are seeing progress and improvement in this area. We would like to see an environment with open dialogue," he said.

The US-based drugmaker launched Trulicity, a new generation of anti-diabetes drug last week, which is a once-a-week non-insulin injectable. Eli Lilly was the first company to commercialize insulin in 1923.

“For more than 93 years, we have been operating and working in this area. In India, you have more than 65 million people living with diabetes. Our goal is to make our medications accessible. We do clinical trials in India and also in diabetes, we do partnerships to create awareness. The once-a-week injectable has an MRP (maximum retail price) of 2,499," Olaizola said.

The company said that it plans to launch about four products in India in the next three years. “We expect to continue to grow in double digits specially in areas like diabetes," he said. About 85% of the company’s sales in India comes from diabetes drugs.

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