Nanogen, a Vietnamese company which makes drugs for the cure of Hepatitis B, has produced a drug for Hepatitis C in an injection form – Pegnano.
However Hoffmann-La Roche AG, which holds the patent for Peginterferon alfa 2a in Vietnam, contests this. Roche holds the patent until 2017.
When Roche complained at first the Vietnamese government upheld Roche’s patent but later reversed the decision.
Nanogen Biopharmaceutical spent 9 years making the drug accessible to poor Vietnamese hepatitis patients. Pegnano is sold for VND1.5 million-1.9 million per 180mcg (USD77); Roche’s price is VND4.3 million for the same amount.
Accordint to the Nanogen Company director, Ho Nhan, article 7 of the Vietnamese Intellectual Property Law was revised in 2009 and clearly stated that the government can ban or limit the exercise of intellectual rights in cases where such rights harm national defense, welfare of the people or affects other crucial national interests.