India kills Merck patent in ongoing campaign

India has done it again, revoking another patent from a Big Pharma player on the grounds that it shows no innovation. This time it nailed a Merck & Co. ($MRK) asthma drug, the Business Standard reports. The patent was challenged by Cipla, an Indian generics maker that has made a habit of challenging patents from Western drugmakers. Earlier this year, Indian authorities revoked Pfizer's ($PFE) protection on cancer drug Sutent, and another authority overturned a patent on Roche's ($RHHBY) hepatitis C drug Pegasys. Just a few weeks ago, the patent appeals board rejected AstraZeneca's ($AZN) bid for IP protections on its cancer drug Iressa. It is becoming a big problem for Big Pharma, which wants to cash in on India's growing middle-class population but is angry about losing the patents and the prices they protect. But with high levels of poverty, about 90% of the drugs sold there are generic, and there is a strong feeling that patents keep the poor from getting essential meds. Story | More