The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) wants to make it easier to develop drugs in the country by changing the rules relating to patent infringement in clinical trials.
As in other countries, all drugs sold in the UK must go through animal and clinical trials to prove that they are safe and effective.
For generic drugs this means comparative tests with existing products, which are permitted under UK patent laws as long as they are limited in scope.
However, companies trials comparing new medicines with existing marketed drugs are not exempt from patent rules, mean developers of innovator products potentially face infringement lawsuits.
This needs to change according to the IPO, which set out its arguments in a consultation document published earlier today.
Another area of concern is the development of new drugs that are part of combination therapies with products that are already approved.
However, rather than impose what it thinks is a solution the IPO want to engage the drug industry in the process according to Intellectual Property Office’s chief executive, Sean Dennehey.
“Previous discussions with the pharmaceutical industry revealed a widespread appetite for change in the way UK patent law treats clinical or field trials.
He added that: “This consultation now offers a formal opportunity to shape the patent infringement provisions so that they can better support growth in this key industry sector.
The consultation will run until December 19.