Lately Cipla sold its money-spinning contraceptive brand product “i-pill” to Piramal Healthcare for INR. 95 crores. I-pill is an emergency contraceptive pill containing 1.5mg of Levonorgestrel which was launched by Cipla in the Indian market, followed by another Indian pharma company Mankind under the brand name Unwanted 72. In past, the Government of India criticized and banned airing of i-pill advertisements on television due to irresponsible advertising.
In Europe, 1.5mg Levonorgestrel is marketed as Postinor-1 by Hungarian company Gedeon Richter which holds patent protection for 1.5mg dose of Levonorgestrel as claimed by EP-B1-1.448.207. Bayer and HRA Pharma are two other companies marketing 1.5mg Levonorgestrel in the
As far as my understanding of patent law is concerned, a patent right excludes third party including the Government from the act using, manufacturing or selling the patented product without the permission of patentee. However, the Government may still manufacture or use the patented product under the Government-use exemption. Ironically in India, the Government’s own agency is involved in issuing licenses to third party to manufacture and sell the patented drugs that clearly contravenes the spirit of patent right (obviously allowing third party to manufacture and sell patented drugs from commercial use do not fall within the Government-use exemption) but still Indian judiciary is finding hard to understand that such act of granting licenses to manufacture and sell patented drug constitute violation of patent right under section 47 of the Patents Act, 1970.