Indian court to hear crucial Novartis patent case on cut-price generic drugs

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 10:00 in Health & Medicine

Campaigners say granting Indian patent for cancer drug Glivec would be 'death sentence' for ill people in developing worldIndia's highest court is due to hear a case that could decide whether cut-price generic drugs for cancer and other acute conditions will continue to be available in much of the developing world.The long-running legal tussle, which resumes in Delhi on Wednesday, has been brought by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis. It wants an Indian patent for its leukaemia drug imatinib mesylate, which has been patented as Glivec in nearly 40 countries including China, Russia, Mexico, Taiwan, Germany and the UK, and Gleevec in the US.Novartis says the legal bid is "about protecting intellectual property to advance the practice of medicine, not about changing access to medicines", according to Ranjit Shahani, the vice-chairman and managing director of Novartis India. But campaigners argue that a victory for Novartis could result in the deaths...

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