Bombay HC penalises pharma firm Rs 1.5 crore for making 'substandard' version of medicine

The firm, a repeat offender, was directed to deposit the money in the Kerala CM's Distress Relief Fund

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The Bombay High Court on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 1.50 crore on a pharmaceutical company that was found guilty of infringing on trademark under the Intellectual Property Rights Act.

The company had allegedly copied a product manufactured by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The accused company has been asked to deposit the money in the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, which it did today.

Justice S J Kathawala directed Galpha Laboratories to immediately withdraw all products bearing the impugned mark “CLODID” and its variants from the market and conduct its business by abiding strictly by the rules and regulations of the FDA.

Advcoate Hiren Kamod appearing for Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, had argued that the product Candid-B cream is copied by the defendants to the ‘last millimeter’. He also informed the court about the defendants being habitual offenders. Kamod, tendered before the court a Delhi High court judgment and newspaper reports indicating that regular action was carried out against the defending company, for infringing trademarks of well reputed pharmaceutical companies and also manufacturing and selling, substandard and spurious drugs.

The court after going through the evidence submitted held that in cases of infringement of trademark, it generally takes a lenient view. However, in the present case, it said “This is a case where the conduct of the Defendant No.2 (Galpha Laboratories) is not only dishonest but also audacious and such which displays no regards to the authority/rule of law.”

The bench also observed that “Drugs are not sweets. Pharmaceutical companies which provide medicines for health of the consumers have a special duty of care towards them. These companies, in fact, have a greater responsibility towards the general public. However, nowadays, the corporate and financial goals of such companies cloud the decision of its executives whose decisions are incentivized by profits, more often than not, at the cost of public health. This case is a perfect example of just that.”

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