A lot of noise is being made about the Piramal’s recent acquisition of Bayer’s molecular imaging portfolio but what does it really imply?
According to chairman Mr Ajay Piramal it’s a shift from being a maker of branded generic-versions of medicines to creating exclusive patent-protected products. Now this is a distinct shift of ideology for Indian pharma companies considering the recent compulsory licensing case, which allowed Natco to copy and reproduce Bayer’s anti-cancer drug at a cut-price rate. Till now companies were happy to replicate the big global players’ drugs and refused to compete with them for R & D. This acquisition could signify a new dawn for India pharmaceutical companies where they take on the big players at their own game.
This transaction also included the rights to florbetaben. Florbetaben is a PET tracer for the detection of beta-Amyloid plaque deposition in the brain, which is the pathological hallmark of disease in probable Alzheimer’s disease patients. Detection of beta-Amyloid depositions is expected to result in earlier diagnosis and more specific treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Whether this will signify a substantial slash in medicine costs even down the line is still unclear. Despite Roche’s recent announcement to sell generic versions of two of its cancer drugs at cut-price rates in India, drugs for chronic diseases, despite compulsory licensing is still too expensive for most people.
Does this acquisition mean that in the near future if there is a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment people will be able to afford it? Sadly the answer to that for the time being is no. Watch this space.