TB survivors challenge patent to end J&J monopoly

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  1. Two tuberculosis survivors from Indian and South Africa have challenged Johnson and Johnson’s application to extend the patent over Bedaquiline, in order to keep it affordable for everyone.
  2. Bedaquiline is a drug used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is a condition where the TB bacteria has developed resistance to most antibiotic drugs.
  3. The J&J patent application is being challenged on the grounds that the new salt form of Bedaquiline, does not merit patenting under India’s Patents Act, 1970. This is because it is a minor reformulation of the drug without any increase in therapeutic efficacy – often called as patent evergreening
  4. In India, the high price of Bedaquiline is a significant barrier for the government to make it available to all patients, thus exposing patients to less effective drugs with severe side effects.