Firm fights drug patent rejection

Firm fights drug patent rejection

A Japanese pharmaceutical company has appealed against the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP)'s rejection of its request to patent the anti-Covid drug Favipiravir which is widely used in Thailand.

Following the rejection, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has started a process to produce locally-made Favipiravir.

Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, the department director-general, said the Japanese firm submitted its appeal within the 60-day deadline after the company was told of the department's decision.

The intellectual property committee, chaired by Boonyarit Kalayanamit, permanent secretary of Commerce Ministry, will consider whether to allow its patent registration.

"Until the committee rules over the issue, the GPO and other medicine producers in Thailand can carry on with their production of the anti-viral medicine," said Mr Vuttikrai, adding the committee is not expected to take long to make a decision.

The department earlier ruled the request by the Japanese manufacturer to patent the drug in its tablet form did not constitute an advanced invention under the 1979 Patent Act.

The applicant was allowed to submit additional paperwork but still fell short of qualifying for the patent, he said.

The law allows the unsuccessful applicant to appeal against the department's decision and if it fails, the ruling will legally stand as final. It is not clear how much the patent might be worth.

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