MUMBAI: Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma has launched a cut price version of ibrutinib, an anti-cancer drug, under its own brand name Ibrunat. The patent for the drug is held by Pharmacyclics for three to four more years in India. Pharmacyclics was globally acquired by US giant AbbVie in 2015 in a massive USD21 billion deal. In India, the marketing right for ibrutinib is held by Johnson & Johnson. Ibrutinib is used to treat patients with leukemia and similar other indications of cancer.
A Natco official confirmed its launch but refused to divulge more details. It is learnt that the Indian drug maker has already dispatched the drug in distribution channels. The Natco drug will cost at approximately INR 38000 per month as opposed to INR 4 lakh course of the innovator. A patient is expected to take 4 tablets each day.
Sources informed ET that Pharmacyclics had filed for an injunction petition in Delhi High Court but no clear decision was handed out. Natco was directed to maintain data for its inventory and stocks sold.
Natco’s latest move is consistent with its earlier launches and challenging the patents held on anti-cancer drugs by multinational drug companies. In July this year, the Delhi High Court had dismissed an injunction plea by Bayer to halt Natco from selling copies of its brand of regorafenib. Bayer’s products in three versions, marketed since 2013 in India, were priced at INR36000 to INR40000 per bottle of 28 tablets, while Natco’s product was made available at INR9000 per bottle.