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Cipla bird flu drug launch in February

By C H Unnikrishnan in Mumbai
Last updated on: February 11, 2006 14:09 IST
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Cipla will launch a generic version of bird flu drug, Oseltamivir, in the domestic market this month.

The drug would be priced at about Rs 1,000 per strip of 10 tablets. "Cipla plans to sell the product in 49 countries where the patent is not applicable," company sources said.

The move to launch the product follows the company's abortive attempt to get a licence for the product from Roche and Gilead, which have patents on the drug in the regulated market.

Cipla had offered to pay the foreign companies a 4 per cent royalty on the sale of this product. "The risk of the disease in India and other poor countries is very high. So, we decided to go ahead with manufacturing and marketing of this product in India, where Roche or Gilead are yet to receive the patent," sources added.

Cipla is also planning to challenge the patent applications filed by Gilead for Oseltamivir, the avian flu drug currently marketed by Roche as Tamiflu in India.

The patent applications for Oseltamivir are learnt to be in the patent mailbox in India and the publication of the same is awaited.

"Since the patent to Oseltamivir is a border-line case and still debatable, we will study the applicant's claims and prepare for the opposition," sources said.

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C H Unnikrishnan in Mumbai
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