Generic versions of AstraZeneca’s patented

Amid serious global attention on COVID-19 pandemic, India’s Natco Pharma has quietly launched the generic versions of Astra Zeneca’s patented anti-diabetes brand Farxiga. Natco named its brand Dapnat, which will be available in 5mg and 10mg strengths. These products will be priced significantly lower than the two strengths of Farxiga (dapagliflozin) sold in India.

  • While Natco has priced its two products at INR15 and INR19.50 respectively, AstraZeneca’s Farxiga costs INR49 and INR57 for each tablet.
  • The launch gives Natco an entry in the rapidly growing SGLT-2 segment that has mostly been dominated by global drugmakers.
  • The segment has seen the entry of Indian drugmaker Glenmark, which launched its versions of remogliflozin at a significantly lower price than MNC brands.
  • According to information available, AstraZeneca has two patents on dapagliflozin in India, the first of which expires later this year in October and the other in 2023. 
  • There is no clarity on any injunction moves by AstraZeneca against Natco since Indian courts are closed due to the continuing nationwide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19.

Natco has been consistently launching generic versions of patented drugs at low prices. Last December, it launched cut-price versions of AbbVie’s anti-cancer brand Imbruvica in India.
While health activists have welcomed such moves, these have drawn international flak from pro-patent lobby groups. The US government representatives have criticised India for allowing loopholes that failed to protect the intellectual property rights of global companies.

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