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To patent or not to patent? the case of Novartis’ cancer drug Glivec in India

Author: Ravinder Gabble & Jillian Clare Kohler, in Global Health (USA), Published on: 6 January 2014

Glivec...produced by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, is prescribed [to treat]...one of the most common blood cancers in eastern countries...[T]he Supreme Court of India gave its final decision...rejecting the appeal of the Swiss...drug manufacturer...[T]he Supreme Court stated that even if the bioavailability of the drug was improved, it did not demonstrate enhanced efficacy and that Glivec was not patentable...[T]he drug needs to be taken lifelong…For this reason, along with the fact that 95% of Indians do not possess private health insurance, its pricing plays a critical factor in cancer patients’ ability to access a continuous supply of Glivec for effective treatment...The pricing of cancer treatment is arguably the most important factor in determining India’s position in the case: a monthly dose of the patented version of Glivec…is over three times an average Indian’s annual income...

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Related companies: Novartis