India's Pharmaceutical Industry Prepare for Pivotal Court Hearing on Drug Patents

Posted 07 March 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

The Indian Supreme Court is set to hear a pivotal challenge to its patent system by Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis, which is seeking to force the Indian government to recognize its patent on cancer drug Gleevec, reports the New York Times.

Novartis contends that India improperly denied its patent for Gleevec-and, by proxy, those of many other drugs manufactured by western pharmaceutical companies-and filed suit six years ago to challenge the patent's status under new World Trade Organization rules.

The US-patented drug, indicated for use in chronic myelgenous leukemia, costs roughly $70,000 per year in the US.

Indian non-patented generic versions of the drug sell for around $2,500 per year.

The case is attracting a plethora of high-level attention from both western manufacturers and trade groups hoping to uphold patents and from public health advocates hoping to maintain least-cost-restrictive access to generic pharmaceuticals. India is one of the largest producers of pharmaceutical products for third-world markets.

Read more:

The New York Times - India's Supreme Court to Hear Dispute on Drug Patents

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