The fight over the steeply priced cancer drug XTANDI(enzalutamide), used in prostate cancer has taken interesting turn, with a clutch of civil society, organisations including Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment and Health Global Access Project, urging University of Califirnia to withdraw its case and cease efforts to obtain patent in India. The drug was developed by researchers of UCLA, WHO then licensed the chemical compound’s patent to a pharmaceutical company Medivation. The letter says, “World Bank” estimated India’s 2015 per capita income at $1,539 per year, making the cost of require four pill daily dose of enzalutamide over 40 times a person’s daily income in India”.
The grant of patent
Enzalutamide in India would prevent generic competitors from supplying the drug at an affordable price, both in India and other countries where there is no patent or where Astellas has abused its patent rights by charging price that are excessive and create access barriers for this important drug . Earlier, drug companies BDR Pharma Fresenius Kabi challenged the University of California’s attempt to obtain a patent in pre-grant opposition proceedings. The India Patent Office denied the patent resulting in Regents of University of California to file a petition in Delhi High Court. The blockbuster drug which nets nearly $3 billion in worldwide sales, was acquired last year by Pfizer as part of a deal when it bought Medivation, a biotech company. While it is clear that there is a commercial intent of the licensees (Medivation/Astellas/ Pfizer) in acquiring patent rights in India, the writ is filed in name of Regents of University of California, perhaps to portray the matter as a struggle for recognition of academic research, civil society groups say.