MMA’s consortium partner, the Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (TNP+), has filed a third-party observation on a patent application on the tuberculosis (TB) medicine delamanid (compositions with selected cellulose compounds, TH0601003519, WO/2007/013477, PCT/JP2006/314708). Delamanid is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use as part of treatment for multi-drug resistant forms of tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
Thailand is the first country within the MMA’s consortium to file an opposition on a patent application on delamanid, which could, if successful, enable cheaper generic versions of the drug.
“Thailand has a special program specific for MDR TB treatment, supported by the Department of Disease Control (DDC) for certain high-risk populations. At present, the program has one WHO-recommended drug, bedaquiline, available for the MDR TB treatment. However, it is important for the healthcare system to have all options and all available treatments for more effective control over incidence of MDR-TB”, says Chalermsak Kittitrakul, Project Manager for Access to Medicines in TNP+.
Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has filed four patent applications for delamanid in Thailand. One of them, with the claims on the delamanid compound, was granted; it will expire in October 2023. Two of these applications, with claim for TB treatment and use in combination with other TB drugs, are not patentable in Thailand and were abandoned in March 2022. The Thai patent law prohibits filing patent applications for therapeutic methods and combination with old drugs (if there is no synergistic effect that significantly improves treatment). The other application – which is considered an evergreening practice – is pending. TNP+ has filed an opposition to stop the extension of the monopoly on delamanid when its key patent is expiring this year. This will allow Thailand to import or locally produce generic versions of delamanid at a lower cost.