Roche vs CIPLA: The "Pricing" Paradox


An earlier post noted that CIPLA objected to the high pricing by Roche of it’s cancer drug, Tarceva (Erlotinib) and was therefore resorting to the drastic step of infringing its patent.

Paradoxically, CIPLA has just been issued a notice by the NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) for allegedly over-pricing its antibiotic, Ciprofloxacin!! Recall our earlier post in this regard titled “CIPLA Milking Indian Consumers: Charity Does Not Begin at Home”.

CH Unnikrishnan of the Mint Reports:

CIPLA Gets Fresh Notice on Drug Price Violation

“Even as a Supreme Court ruling is pending on a drug price overcharging case involving drug maker Cipla Ltd, the country’s drugs price regulator national pharmaceutical pricing authority or NPPA has asked the company to pay up a fresh penalty of Rs27.30 crore on new charges of price rule violation.

This is the second notice that NPPA is serving on Cipla for alleged drug price control norms violation in the last nine months; it was fined Rs748 crore in April 2007. Cipla is contesting that claim too.

In a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Cipla said the latest notice from NPPA was for the period between December 2003 and June 2007 on its antibiotic drug Ciprofloxacin.
The demand is contrary to the orders of the Supreme Court and, “the company has received legal advice that entire amounts demanded by the government are not tenable and sustainable,” it said.

Cipla company secretary S. Radhakrishnan said the drug named in the latest notice “is already covered in the Supreme Court case, which is pending for last four years.” NPPA’s legal and overcharging division director M. P. Singh declined to elaborate. Cipla had appealed to the Supreme Court following a 2003 notice from NPPA, wherein the company was accused of overcharging a range of antibiotics and anti-asthma drugs.”

Shamnad Basheer

Shamnad Basheer

Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He is currently the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. He is also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Professor Basheer joinedAnand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Prof Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP and the Stanford Technology Law Review. He is consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also serves on several government committees.

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