"In a decisive victory for India's pharmaceutical industry, India's Supreme Court rejected Novartis' patent application for the cancer drug Glivec on Monday, ending a seven-year battle by the Swiss drug maker to get a patent in India on its powerful leukemia drug," Time reports (Mahr, 4/1). "The decision means generic drug makers can continue to sell copies of the drug at a lower price in India," BBC News writes, adding, "India is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical markets" (4/2). "The verdict is seen as having wide implications not just for Glivec -- used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia -- but other medicines that multinational drug companies want to patent in India," the Financial Times writes, noting, "Activists hailed the ruling as a victory for patients with AIDS, cancer and other diseases not just in India but across the developing world."
"However, Novartis said the verdict 'discourages innovative drug discovery essential to advancing medical science for patients," the newspaper adds (Kazmin/Jack, 4/1). "The ruling comes at a challenging time for the pharmaceutical industry, which is increasingly looking to emerging markets to compensate for lackluster drug sales in the United States and Europe," according to the New York Times. "At the same time, it is facing other challenges to its patent protections in countries like Argentina, the Philippines, Thailand and Brazil," the newspaper writes (Harris/Thomas, 4/1). NPR's "Morning Edition" examines the ruling in an audio report (Knox, 4/2). The Guardian recounts a history of intellectual property issues over the past decade and discusses the implications of the ruling (Boseley, 4/1).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.