Justice V.G. Arun of Kerala High Court while adjudicating upon a Writ Petition filed by a woman suffering breast cancer has directed the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade to consider the compulsory licensing of one of the costliest Breast Cancer drug Ribociclib.

The Petitioner was represented by Advocate Maitreyi Sachidananda Hegde before the High Court.

The Petitioner is a retired bank employee with a monthly pension of Rs. 28,000 and is diagnosed with HER2- Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer and is undergoing targeted therapy treatment. The monthly cost of the medicines for treatment is Rs. 63,480/-.

As per the Petitioner, since Ribociclib is not manufactured in India, it is one of the costliest medicines, the price of which alone comes to Rs. 58, 140/-. The Petitioner contended before the Court that if the medicine is manufactured in India, the cost will come down substantially and will be affordable to persons like the Petitioner.

The Petitioner further urged that at present the drug enjoys a monopoly and its manufacturers are hence prevented from producing the medicine without the consent of the patent holder.

The Petitioner referred to Section 92 of the Patents Act which provides for compulsory licensing and Section 100 empowers the Government to requisition life-saving medicines in cases of extreme necessity.

It was further contended that these aspects require immediate action for which the Petitioner has already submitted a representation before various authorities.

The Petitioner thus sought a direction to the 3rd Respondent to consider her representation and take a reasoned decision without further delay.

The Court thus observed –

"I find that the issue projected through the writ petition requires serious consideration at the hands of the authorities available. As per the available statistics, an alarming number of women succumb to Breast cancer because of their inability to afford expensive treatment and medication. The right to life guaranteed under the Constitution, coupled with the State's duty to improve public health, call for emergent and effective action in the matter."

Accordingly, the Court directed the DPIIT to take up the representation and to pass reasoned order after consultation with other authorities and pass an order within four weeks.

The matter has been listed on July, 18th 2022.

Click here to read/download the Order