Letter from CIPLA to Bristol-Myers Squbb:
Intellectual Property Rights on Stavudine and Didanosine

December 19, 2000

Head of Patents
Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals
141-149 Staines Road
Middlesex TW3 3JB
United Kingdom

Dear Sir,

CIPLA seeks to sell products for the treatment of HIV and related illnesses, including those containing stavudine and didanosine. As you know, the high prices for HIV/AIDS medicines have made it impossible for millions of persons in developing countries to obtain access to medicines, contributing to widespread suffering and death. CIPLA seeks to provide a competitive product, with the expectation that competition will drive prices down, benefitting patients and saving lives. To this end, CIPLA requests a timely response to the following:

  1. Please provide list of countries where Bristol-Myers Squibb asserts intellectual property rights in products containing stavudine or didanosine, with a description of the property rights.

  2. For those countries where Bristol-Myers Squibb has patents or other intellectual property rights for products containing stavudine or didanosine, CIPLA requests a non-exclusive voluntary license.

Depending upon the nature of Bristol-Myers Suibb's property rights in each country, CIPLA is willing to pay royalties as high as 5 percent of net sales, for example, in countries where Bristol-Myers Squibb has patents similar to those granted in the United States or the UK. (In countries where Bristol-Myers Squibb has substantially lesser intellectual property claims, for example, in countries where Bristol-Myers Squibb did not file for a "use" patent for stavudine or didanosine, CIPLA would negotiate an appropriate royalty that reflects the value of the IPR in the product.)

According to a February 2000 submission to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) by the US trade group PhRMA, five percent is the "approximate average pharmaceutical royalty rate," and given the human tragedy unfolding in the developing countries over the lack of access to medicines for HIV/AIDS and allied ailments, the "average" royalty is surely adequate for the world's poor.

Given the urgency of the public health crisis, we ask for a response to this request by January 25, 2000.

Yours sincerely,
For Cipla Limited

Amar Lulla

Copy to: The Chief Executive Officer