The Novartis Decision: Is the Big Win for Indian Pharma Bad News for Investment?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In a decisive victory for India’s pharmaceutical industry, India’s Supreme Court rejected Novartis’ patent application for the cancer drug Glivec on Monday, ending a seven-year battle by the Swiss drugmaker to get a patent in India on its powerful leukemia drug. The medication, which was approved for use in the U.S. back in 2001, has been produced generically by Indian pharmaceuticals for years at a fraction of the Swiss drug’s cost. The Indian drug industry’s victory, however, is being described as a stunning defeat for intellectual-property rights and may have repercussions on India’s attempts to attract foreign investment.

Nevertheless, health activists have called the top court’s decision a win for patients seeking cheaper treatment and against “evergreening,” the alleged practice of making minor tweaks to an existing drug to prolong a company’s hold on a patent and protect it from being produced by other firms as a cheaper generic version once the patent has expired.

Source: Time (link opens in a new window)

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Health Care
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health care, public health