London: India`s decision to allow the production of a cheaper generic copy of a patented cancer drug will be challenged by German drug maker Bayer.
Last year, India allowed Natco Pharma to produce Nexavar and, on Monday, the patent appeals office rejected Bayer`s plea to overturn that ruling, the BBC reports.
On Tuesday, Bayer said it `strongly` disagreed with the decision and would appeal in the high court of Mumbai.
Bayer sells the drug for 280,000 rupees for a 120-tablet pack, but Natco said a 120-tablet pack of Nexavar will be available for 8,800 rupees.
According to the report, health groups have welcomed the decision, saying it would lead to more affordable versions of patented medicines.
Leena Menghaney of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said that the decision means that the way has been paved for compulsory licenses to be issued on other drugs, now patented in India and priced out of affordable reach, to be produced by generic companies and sold at a fraction of the price, the report said.
This is the first case in India of a company being granted a `compulsory license` to manufacture a patented drug. Under the rule, Natco must pay seven percent in royalties to Bayer, it added.