War on Terrorism: Antibiotics - Drugs Company Refuses to Relax Crucial Patent
Foley, Stephen, The Independent (London, England)
CANADIAN HEALTH authorities have given up their attempt to order cheap copies of the anthrax antibiotic Cipro, after a legal threat from the pharmaceutical firm that owns the patent.
The Canadian government had hoped to build a stockpile of antibiotics for any anthrax outbreaks by placing an order with a local drug company.
But Bayer, a German conglomerate, said yesterday it would fight to defend its Cipro patent despite of anger in North America, where demand for the expensive drug has soared since the start of the bioterrorism alert.
Trent Lott, the Republican leader in the United States Senate, said politicians were ready to debate stripping Bayer of the patent for Cipro, so that copycat drugs could go into production.
The move could halve the costs of building a national stockpile of about 1.5 billion anti-anthrax tablets, and would mean that supplies could be ready much earlier.
Bayer has switched its Cipro factories to a 24-hour production schedule but has not been able to keep pace with demand.
Bruce Downey, the head of Barr, a US drug-maker, said yesterday he could start shipping copycat Cipro within two or three weeks of a US Senate decision to revoke Bayer's patent. Barr is paid …
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Publication information: Article title: War on Terrorism: Antibiotics - Drugs Company Refuses to Relax Crucial Patent. Contributors: Foley, Stephen - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 24, 2001. Page number: 6. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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