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Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies Granted 77% of Pharmaceutical Patents by Indian Patent Office (IPO) | Pharmaceutical Patents granted by Indian Patent Office (IPO)

Pharmaceutical Patents granted by Indian Patent Office (IPO)

Recently, the Indian Patent Office (IPO) published comprehensive list of pharmaceutical patents granted on its website. It is interesting to note that more than two thirds of pharmaceutical patents were granted to foreign multinational companies and foreign drug makers by the Indian Patent Office (IPO). On the basis of patent data published on Indian Patent Office (IPO), it was noticed that 1,001 pharmaceutical patents had been granted between April 2010 and March 2013 to various pharmaceutical companies. The patent data also revealed that out of the granted pharmaceutical patents in India, 771 patents were issued to foreign pharmaceutical companies and drug makers such as Pfizer Inc., Novartis AG and F Hoffmann La Roche Ltd.


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US based drug maker and bio-technology researcher Eli Lilly and Co. active in the domain of Insulin research was issued the maximum number of patents in the above mentioned period. The patents given to Eli Lilly and Co. were mainly for biological products and compounds to treat diabetes and related diseases.[1]

US based insulin maker Eli Lilly and Co were granted 36 patents which was the highest number of patents granted to a company by Indian Patent Office. Second in the list was Pfizer with 32 Indian patents while Switzerland-based Roche Holding AG (Roche) and Novartis, were granted 22 Indian patents and 14 Indian patents. 12 Indian patents each were granted to Sanofi SA and Bayer AG respectively.

S. No. Foreign Drug Makers Number of Patents Issued
1. Eli Lilly and Co. 36
2. Pfizer 32
3. F Hoffmann-La Roche 22
4. Novartis 14
5. Sanofi SA 12
6. Bayer AG 12

However, in recent times India has been condemned for not granting patents to blockbuster drugs and revoking existing patents of multinational pharmaceutical companies. By publishing the patent grant data by the Indian Patent Office it is clear that the procedure followed by the patent examiners is not bias towards foreign drug markers. The patent law in India is tweaking out the weak patents which don’t stand the section 3(d) of the Indian Patent act.

The Indian patent act doesn’t allow invention claims to be granted based on simple modification of already known drugs unless the new version of the formula is substantially superior in terms of treatment efficacy.

In recent weeks the Indian government has also recommended compulsory licenses be issued on patents, including Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-cancer drug Sprycel while Roche decided not to follow a rejected patent application for its anti-breast cancer drug Herceptin.

Its good news that patent filings by domestic pharmaceutical applicants has increased over the years in India. Cadila Healthcare Ltd has been granted 10 Indian patents, followed by Panacea Biotech being granted 6 Indian patents. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd have been granted 3 patents each, respectively.

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