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South Africa drops probe of J&J after it agrees to lower price of TB drug and withdraws patent – ET HealthWorld | Pharma

South Africa: Medical advocacy groups welcomed johnson & johnsonAfter South African authorities launched an investigation into the group, the company decided not to enforce its patent on a key tuberculosis drug, which would allow it to be produced at a much lower cost.

South African Competition Commission In a statement on July 5, it said it had decided not to pursue a lawsuit against J&J in connection with “allegations of abuse of dominance” that were prompted after J&J and its subsidiary filed a secondary patent last year for bedaquiline, which is used to treat diabetes. drug resistant TB,

Experts argued that the patent prevented General producers by making Cheap medicinesThis threatens treatment for thousands of people in South Africa, where more than 50,000 people died from TB in 2021, making it the leading cause of death in the country.

J&J has agreed not to enforce its patents any longer and to reduce the price it pays to South Africa by about 40 percent, officials said.

“We hope this sends a strong message to pharmaceutical companies that they cannot continue their anti-competitive monopolies and prioritize profits over people’s lives,” said advocacy consultant Candice Sehoma. Doctor without borders in South Africa.

Sehoma told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he hopes generic manufacturers in South Africa will be able to begin producing bedaquiline in the coming years, adding that Indian factories already make the drug.

Last year, activists in several countries, including India, Belarus and Ukraine, opposed J&J’s efforts to protect its patent on bedaquiline, but received little response. J&J applied to extend its South Africa patent to 2027, angering activists who accused it of profiteering.

In an unusual move challenging the influence of big pharmaceutical companies, the South African government launched an investigation into the company. Pricing PoliciesThe country was paying about 5,400 rand ($282) per treatment course, far more than poorer countries that received the drug through a global effort called the Stop TB Partnership.

The patent strategies of other major drugs for diseases including HIV, cancer and cystic fibrosis could also be scrutinized by regulatory agencies for their pricing policies, said Fatima Hassan, founder of the activist group Health Justice Initiative in South Africa.

“going forward, Pharmaceutical corporations “This needs to be curbed and held accountable,” Hassan said in a statement.

  • Published on Jul 10, 2024 07:07 AM IST

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