Monday, April 1, 2013

decision of the Supreme Court paves the way for generic companies to make cheap copies of Glivec in the developing world

Supreme Court of India refused to allow one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies to patent a new version of an anti-cancer campaign decision hailed as a milestone in the access to medicines for the poor in the developing world.

Novartis lost a legal battle six years after the court ruled that the small changes and improvements in the Glivec was not an innovation worthy of a patent. The decision paves the way for generic companies in India to manufacture and sell cheap copies of drugs in the developing world and has implications for HIV and other modern medicines also.

activists were jubilant. If Novartis had won, would have reduced access to the drug for the poor, said Jennifer Cohn, M?decins Sans Fronti?res (MSF), which adds: "The fact that India says that patents are to reward innovation rather small changes remains faithful to the concept of what a patent should be. "

But Novartis said the decision "not to encourage future innovation in India."

Ranjit Shahani

, vice president and general manager of the company in India, said the decision was "a setback for patients impede medical progress for diseases without effective treatment options."

Glivec is an important drug for myeloid leukemia and transformed the outlook for patients in rich countries. Is a targeted therapy that blocks the biological growth in cancer patients with a particular genetic mutation. But like all targeted therapies, is very expensive, costing more than $ 1,700 per month.

Historically India had only limited patent protection on generic drugs and their companies made versions of many drugs. It is only when Indian companies started to make cheap copies of drugs against HIV made possible a decade ago to look at the treatment of millions of people in poor countries in Africa, where the epidemic AIDS was at its height.

But in 2005, India became comply with the rules of the World Trade Organization on intellectual property and now grants patents on innovative medicines. Patents generally 20 years or older at the time of printing.

In a statement, Leena Menghaney, Director of MSF's Campaign for Access in India, said: "Although MSF has not yet seen the text of the judgment, which seems to be the best solution for patients in developing countries less than patents are granted on existing drugs. attacks Novartis elements of patent law in India to protect public health have failed. Court decision prevents companies from abusing the patent system for patents unjustified existing drugs to block the price-busting generic competition on HIV and other essential medicines. This confirms that all patent offices in India must use this interpretation of the law and it is now clear and should be strictly enforced. "

In a statement, the cancer helps patients Association of India (CPAA), which had opposed the patent application of Novartis, said: "We are pleased that the Supreme Court has recognized the right of patient access to affordable medicines through the profits of pharmaceutical companies through patents.

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