Drug companies watching India’s drug patent case

Author: Stephanie Nolen, Globe & Mail [Canada] , Published on: 25 March 2012

India’s Supreme Court will hear final arguments…in a case that could have life-or-death implications for millions…Novartis...wants to patent…a leukemia drug…In 2006, the Indian Patent Office denied that…saying…it was not a new medicine…Novartis took that decision to court, and has lost twice on appeal; judges said the company had not shown the drug would have greater “efficacy” than the already-patented molecule...At stake is India’s $26-billion (U.S.) generic drug industry, which…acts as “the world’s pharmacy” and helped to fuel major gains in public health…Countries…are able to treat hundreds of thousands…with HIV in their public sector health programs because they buy generic Indian anti-retrovirals that cost $120…rather than…$12,000 per patient per year. “If the Supreme Court broadens the way ‘efficacy’ is interpreted, it will open a flood of patents,”…The WTO allows a country to override a patent if it is preventing access to a life-saving medication…[also refers to Bayer, Merck, Cipla]

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Related companies: Bayer Cipla Merck Novartis