Mumbai-based Cipla has lately obtained patents for new form of two blockbuster drug substances, namely, esomeprazole and alendronate. In past, Cipla has constantly accused foreign MNCs for ever-greening of patent monopoly and strongly opposed patenting of so-called trivial improvements but in general practicing the same in
Often public health interest organizations criticized patenting of polymorphs or other forms of known substances (considering such improvements as trivial modifications) and keep targeting foreign MNCs of being patent freaks but why avoided same practice against the Indian companies. The only reason they may give that the foreign MNCs will charge excessive price for patented drugs whereas domestic companies will not. Interestingly last year Cipla received Government notice demanding Rs. 24.23 crore for alleged overcharging on antibiotic ciprofloxacin during the period April 2006 to March 2007. Earlier Cipla also received similar notices from the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) demanding as estimated Rs. 941.92 crore for alleged overcharging till March 2006 for five drugs, namely, Salbutamol, Theophylline, Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin and Cefadroxil. Just note this overcharging is for generic drugs what if Cipla start marketing and pricing patented drugs. Anyhow bottom line of any business is profit (not public health) and it seems difficult to predict whether NGOs are more confidants to Indian generic companies or to public.