Thursday, 9 August 2007

Novartis loses Indian patent battle over Glivec

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Novartis lost an Indian patent challenge on Monday regarding it's cancer drug Glivec.

The Indian court dismissed a contention by Novartis that India's patent law passed in 2005 was inconsistent with the World Trade Organization rule on intellectual property rights and said that the issue should now go to the WTO's dispute settlement board.

The company started the case regarding Glivec last year, to challenge an Indian law that bans patents regarding modifications to existing medicines, and that only applies to drugs developed after 1995.

Doctors Without Borders calls the decision a major victory.

Novartis contends that incremental innovations should be patentable and India's refusal is a breach of WTO obligations. But critics say a ruling in favor of Novartis would have set a precedent for India patent applications on other drugs and that global access to generic drugs would have been in jeopardy, including generic AIDS drugs from India.

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