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October 24, 2012

UK wants to attract new drug developments by cutting patent risk factor

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has announced plans to make the use of patent drugs in clinical trials fairer so pharmaceutical companies can use these drugs without the risk of being sued.

By Heidi Vella

Clinic

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has announced plans to make the use of patent drugs in clinical trials fairer so pharmaceutical companies can use these drugs without the risk of being sued.

The IPO, which is an Executive Agency of the Department of Business, Skill & Innovation, hopes more leniency in using patent drugs will aid more research and discovery of new drugs.

The Intellectual Property Office’s Chief Executive, Sean Dennehey said; "Previous discussions with the pharmaceutical industry revealed a widespread appetite for change in the way UK patent law treats clinical or field trials. This consultation now offers a formal opportunity to shape the patent infringement provisions so that they can better support growth in this key industry sector."

Under current UK patent law limited use of patented drugs is allowed for tests and research, despite there being many legitimate instances where a patent drug may need to be used in a clinical trial – for example, to compare a new drug to a patented product.

In order to market a drug in the UK it must undergo human or animal clinical trials in order to gain regulatory approval. It is thought the restricted use of patented drugs is stopping these trials from go ahead.

During the consultation period – which will last eight weeks – the IPO will consider the effects of lessoning the risk of legal action when using patented drugs for development of new drugs.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Lord Marland said; "The UK needs an intellectual property system which supports our world class UK pharmaceutical industry that invests over £12m in research and development every day.

"Our proposals look to remove the uncertainty around patent infringement in clinical and field trials, so that our life sciences sector continues to create jobs and growth in the UK economy."


Image: The IPO hopes more leniency in using patent drugs will aid more research and discovery of new drugs. Photo: Courtesy of LeoSynapse.

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