India will be able to manufacture cheap generic versions of a HIV combination therapy after its Patent Office rejected a patent application being sought by a major US drug company.

Illinois based Abbott Laboratories had sought a patent for the drug combination Lopinavir/Ritonavir, which is also sold under the names Kaletra and Aluvia.

However this was challenged by the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK), a group of lawyers and scientists dedicated to increasing access to affordable medicines.

I-MAK Director, Tahir Amin, said that Abbott’s track record on pricing the drug for poorer countries had motivated them to take on the case.

“They have gamed the patent system for nearly twenty years to extend the patent life on this drug. The time has come to say, ‘enough is enough’.”

As a result India, which is a world leader in supplying and exporting generic drugs, will be able to begin mass production of the drug at a vastly reduced price.

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