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In a relief to around 2.5 million HIV patients and generic firms like Cipla and Ranbaxy, GlaxosmithKline (GSK) has pulled out the patent applications of two anti-AIDS medicines in India. While GSK has formally withdrawn the application of Abacavir, it is learnt that the UK giant’s other drug, Trizivir, is deemed withdrawn after it made a request to the patent office not to examine its case.

Abacavir is a second-line anti-retroviral (ARV) drug used to treat patients who have developed resistance to firstline medications. Trizivir is a combine of three ARV drugs used for first and second-line treatments. Both are on the list of drugs the Centre and WHO recommend for HIV treatment.

Indian firms like Cipla, Ranbaxy and Hetero, among others, already market one or both these drugs in India. If GSK had secured the patent, they would have had to pay a royalty to the company. This would up HIV treatment costs. “The applicant (GSK) of this instant application has withdrawn the application under reference (Abacavir). Accordingly, there will be no more further proceedings towards the representation,“ the examiner of the Patent and Design office in Kolkata said in an order.

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