Bayer vs. Natco: A Legal Battle Over Regorafenib

In the complex landscape of pharmaceuticals and patents, battles often arise between innovator companies and generic manufacturers seeking to produce more affordable versions of life-saving drugs. One such contentious case is the legal dispute between Bayer and Natco Pharma over the cancer drug regorafenib.

The Drug: Regorafenib

Regorafenib, marketed under the brand name Stivarga, is a medication used to treat colorectal cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and liver cancer. Developed by Bayer, it falls under the class of kinase inhibitors and has shown promising results in extending the lives of patients with advanced forms of these cancers. Bayer is selling their product at the range of Rs. 36,995 by importing the same into India, whereas, the defendants are manufacturing the product in India and selling the same for Rs. 9,900 only which is at a significantly lower price.

The Legal Dispute:

Natco Pharma, an Indian pharmaceutical company known for its focus on producing generic versions of patented drugs, challenged Bayer’s patent on regorafenib in India. Natco sought to manufacture and sell a generic version of the drug at a significantly lower price, aiming to increase access to this life-saving medication.

Bayer’s Position:

Bayer, as the innovator and patent holder of regorafenib, argued that Natco’s actions infringed upon its intellectual property rights. Bayer asserted that the patent protection was necessary to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to invest in research and development for innovative treatments. They claimed that allowing Natco to produce a generic version of regorafenib would undermine this incentive structure and deter future investment in life-saving drugs.

Natco’s Argument:

Natco countered Bayer’s arguments by citing the importance of access to affordable medicines, especially in developing countries where the cost of patented drugs can be prohibitive for many patients. They argued that producing a generic version of regorafenib would enable more patients to afford treatment, potentially saving lives and reducing the burden of disease.

The Outcome:

The Court, after hearing both the sides, observed that Bayer, having admitted that the patent under dispute is covered by the genus patent – though qualifying such admission by use of the world “technically” – whose term has admittedly expired, at least prima facie is not entitled to an interim order at this stage.

The legal battle between Bayer and Natco Pharma over regorafenib has been closely watched due to its potential implications for access to affordable medicines and the balance between intellectual property rights and public health interests. As of the latest update, the outcome of the case may vary depending on jurisdiction and legal proceedings.


The Bayer vs. Natco legal dispute over regorafenib highlights the complex interplay between pharmaceutical patents, access to medicines, and public health concerns. While innovator companies like Bayer argue for the importance of protecting intellectual property rights to foster innovation, generic manufacturers like Natco advocate for broader access to affordable medications. Ultimately, striking a balance between these competing interests is crucial to ensure that life-saving treatments reach those who need them most, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Prepared by: Kirti Joshi and Sanjaykumar Patel

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