The FINANCIAL — The Georgian national agency of intellectual property, Sakpatenti, decided to lift patent registrations of some medicines “which are of traditional use among customers”.
The FINANCIAL — The Georgian national agency of intellectual property, Sakpatenti, decided to lift patent registrations of some medicines “which are of traditional use among customers”. According to Sakpatenti the list of such medicines consists of up to 100 brands. Among them: Analgin, Citramon, Klofelin and Askofen. The full list of released brands are not yet known. “We have not yet managed to get the full list,” representatives of PSP and Aversi, leading pharmaceutical companies in Georgia told the FINANCIAL. The companies said they will benefit from the new changes. At least one Ukrainian company, formerly holding a patent on medicines, and which will therefore suffer from the decision of Sakpatenti, is already known.
The companies that the new changes will concern:
GMP, Georgia. Company owned by PSP group. It produces Askofen, Citramon, Anaspan, Neoprasol and another 79 branded medicines.
Sofarma, Bulgaria. The company imports Analgin and another 25 brands including Tempalgin.
Farmak, Ukraine. The company imports Naftizin, Diasolin, Corvalol, Validol and another 17 branded medicines.
The changes concerning brand medicines followed the appointment of Irakli Ghvaladze as new head of the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia last month. The former head of Sakpatenti, David Gabunia, was arrested by Police and later charged for falsification of tender procedures.
In December 2009 the Georgian President criticized local pharmaceutical companies for monopolizing the market. He said he was giving three months to the Ministry of healthcare to regulate the situation.
According to the Health Ministry, approximately 125 companies import medicines into Georgia. 85 percent of the market is covered by PSP, Aversi and GPC.
Alexander Kvitashvili, Georgian Health Minister, said that only one Ukrainian pharmaceutical company had been importing over twenty types of medicines including Validol, Korvalol and Nospa, which caused the growth of prices by 20-30 percent. (NOTE: In Sakpatenti’s database there is no data on Nospa and its importer company).
It seems that the new changes will harm mostly Ukrainian importers, as local producers will still be able to distribute their medicines.
Farmak is one of the leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical products in Ukraine.
According to the agreement with Sakpatenti the Ukrainian company has the right of exclusive import of registered medicaments to Georgia till 2016. Sakpatenti plans to deprive the Ukrainian company of its rights, after taking the matter to court.
David Narmania, CEO of the Caucasian Institute for Economic and Social Research, says that this step against the Ukrainian company may harm economical relations between Ukraine and Georgia.
“Farmak will release this information in its home country and the effect of it may be negative,” he says.
“If we discuss the case of Validol, which is an over-the-counter drug, it has been getting imported by Ukrainian company Farmak exclusively since 2006. Technologically production of this medicine is not difficult; accordingly companies in Georgia can start its production,” Irakli Gvaladze, Director General of Sakpatenti, told the FINANCIAL.
Gvaladze says that there are already 8,500 brands of medicines patented in Georgia.” Actually, local producers also wanted to patent brand names of medicines but we refused,” he says.
Georgian pharmaceutical companies that have been blamed for market monopolization many times now welcome the resent decision of Sakpatenti. They say the anti-monopolization of the Georgian pharmacy market will cause a further reduction of prices of medicaments and increase their sales.
130 brands in total, including food product brands, are registered in Georgia by companies from Ukraine.
“We welcome Sakpatenti’s decision to lift patenting names on widely used medicines,” Paata Kurtanidze, founder of one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, Aversi, told The FINANCIAL.
Kurtanidze says that when Sakpatenti’s decision comes into force, Aversi sales will rise.
“We plan to reduce prices per the above-mentioned medicaments by 10-20%,” he promised.
“All medicines patented by the Ukrainian company in Georgia were not the intellectual property of any concrete person or company,” says Natia Khabeishvili, PR Manager of PSP.
Khabeishvili says that previously the company PSP appealed to the court against Validol and Korvalol’s importer company. “Distribution company Iberia + patented some of the medicines in Georgia. The company was importing medicines from Ukraine,” Khabeishvili says.
Annually 600,000 convolutes of Analgin (ten pills package) are sold at Aversi drugstores, according to the company management.
“We sell 250,000 packages (50 pills) of Klofelin every year. 35,000 convolutes (10 pills) of Askofen and 2,900,000 convolutes of Citramon (6 pills package) annually,” Kurtanidze told The FINANCIAL.
Presently the price of Analgin at Aversi is 0.3 GEL; Klofelin – 0.8 GEL; Askofen – 0.35 GEL; Citramon – 0.2 GEL