The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Swiss firm Novartis’ patent plea for its cancer drug Glivec. A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai rejected Novartis’ patent plea.
This historic decision given by Supreme Court of India is a victory for cancer patients. Due to this decision cancers drugs will be available at affordable prices. Big MNC’s can no longer arm twist patients as competitive players in the same domain will help to bring down the prices of life saving drugs.
Since India’s domestic drugs market is the 14th-largest market in the world, growing at 13-14% annually, India is in better position to put it’s stand firmly.
Novartis expressed its disappointment over the decision. “Clearly, we are disappointed with the decision, Glivec is one of the most innovative products. It’s changed the way research in cancer will be done in the future forever.” Novartis said.
Novartis has decided not to invest in India in research and development though it will continue to launch new products.This has been announced in a press conference in Mumbai by Novartis India Ltd Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Ranjit Shahani.
“We will continue with our investments in India even though cautiously, new products which we launched, we will ask for patents for these products and we hope that the ecosystem for intellectual property in the country improves.”, Shahani told mediapersons in Mumbai.
“The intellectual property ecosystem in India is not very encouraging.The decision shows that Indian law offers ‘limited intellectual property protection”, he further added.
Novartis was fighting since 2006 to win patent protection for its cancer drug Glivec. The Indian Patent Office had rejected the patent application of Novartis in 2006.
Novartis had appealed against the decision by ‘The Indian Patent Office’ before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in 2007, but the appeal was dismissed in 2009.
Later on Novartis approached the Supreme Court but has now lost here also. It is a major setback for Novartis.
Cipla Ltd and Natco Pharma Ltd is going to benefit from this decision as they sell ‘generic’ Glivec in India at around one-tenth of the price of the branded drug.
YK Hamied, Chairman of Cipla has welcomed the decision in a talk with Economic Times . YK Hamied said, “It appears to be a victory for India. There is nothing personal. It is for the patients of India and I only hope that this type of verdict will help the country get cancer drugs at affordable prices and it is actually a victory for patients and for access to medicines at affordable prices. That is all I can tell you at this moment.”
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma also hailed the Supreme Court’s verdict .