High Court notice to Novartis on Cipla appeal

Cipla has challenged the court order restraining it from manufacturing generic version of respiratory ailment drug

By Vijdan Saleem
Published: Wednesday 14 January 2015

image The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from Switzerland-based drug pharma company, Novartis, on an appeal filed by Cipla, challenging a recent order which restrained it from selling its generic version of Novartis drug Onbrez. It is used for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Justice Manmohan Singh of Delhi High Court had put a restraint on manufacturing, importing and selling by Cipla of any drug that contains chemical indacaterol on January 9. Novartis has been selling the medicine in India as an inhalation powder and inhaler under the trademark name of Onbrez through its licencee, Lupin Ltd, since 2010. Cipla had commenced manufacture of indacaterol in early 2014, under the name Unibrez. Following a trademark infringement suit filed by Novartis, Cipla renamed the drug as Indaflo. Its version of the drug was priced at Rs 130 for 10 pills — one-fifth of the price of the Novartis' Onbrez, which is sold at Rs 677.

Novartis, the plaintiff in the case on patent infringement, had sought to permanently restrain Cipla from manufacturing indacaterol, seeking damages and payment for infringing the patented pharma product.

The interim injunction was granted till Cipla’s application for compulsory licence of the drug is decided.

The division bench hearing Cipla’s appeal declined to pass any interim order, allowing it to resume manufacture  of Indaflo.

However, Cipla has expressed disappointment over the Delhi High Court order, saying that the interim verdict would deny patients access to drugs they need. The company has been allowed to sell its remaining stock by the court.

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