India Licenses Generic Copy Of Bayer Drug

India's patent office has effectively ended Bayer's monopoly on a patented cancer drug by allowing a generic copy to be made at a fraction of the price.

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's patent office has effectively ended Bayer's monopoly on a patented cancer drug by allowing a generic copy to be made at a fraction of the price.

The decision is likely to infuriate Western pharmaceuticals, which have been pushing for stronger patent protections. Aid groups counter that India's $26 billion generics industry is a lifesaving resource for patients who cannot afford Western prices.

India's Patent Office approved Natco Pharma's application Monday under a provision allowing licenses for patented products not available at affordable price.

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer Corp. markets its cancer drug sorefinib as Nexavar for about $5,600 a month in India. Natco says its version will cost patients $175 a month.

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