Novartis Defeat Revives Debate Over Patents' Life Span [India]

Author: Lisa Shuchman, Corporate Counsel [USA], Published on: 3 April 2013

When India's Supreme Court ruled this week that Novartis AG's cancer drug Gleevec was not sufficiently innovative to merit a patent, public health advocates lauded the decision, which they said would give more people access to needed drugs, and Big Pharma condemned it, saying it would stifle innovation. The court's decision, however, was not about encouraging innovation or access. It revolved around a practice the pharmaceutical industry refers to as "life-cycle management" and which public health advocates call "evergreening."…This strategy has long come under criticism by generic drug makers and public health advocates…where it has been cited as one reason healthcare costs are so high. But as long as the drug is shown to have utility and to be novel and non-obvious, it can receive a patent…Sampat and…Scott Hemphill conducted a study in which they found that generics almost always win in U.S. courts when the challenge is litigated to completion…

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Related companies: Novartis