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Patent wars: has India taken on Big Pharma and won?

Author: Tim Smedley, Guardian [UK] , Published on: 14 May 2013

On 1 April, pharma giant Novartis lost a six-year legal battle after the Indian supreme court ruled that small changes to its leukaemia drug Glivec did not deserve a new patent.…And only one month before, India upheld a compulsory licence of Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar…Both rulings are landmark cases, vehemently criticised by both Big Pharma and major drugs-producing countries…The Novartis spokesperson argues, …”[w]ithout patents, investment in R&D will plummet…there will be no new medicines for untreated diseases and no new generics."…Some view the recent fights in the Indian courts as a sign of Big Pharma's growing desperation; stubborn attempts to cling to old business models rather than face the truth of spiralling R&D costs…The danger Big Pharma faces is unlikely to be developing countries wielding compulsory licences…It is more from their own inability to keep costs down and offer drugs to markets at affordable prices...

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Related companies: Bayer Novartis