Chennai High Court has reserved its verdict on a petition
by global drug maker Novartis AG against an Indian intellectual
property right law that does not allow patenting of
minor improvements in known molecules.
has contended that the Indian patent system stifles innovation,
arguing that tightening of intellectual property laws
would increase investment in developing newer generation
Madras high court has not fix a date when it would hand
down its verdict on the on the Novartis petition. The
two-judge court also ordered that another challenge filed
by Novartis against a judgement rejecting its patent application
for cancer drug, Glivec, be referred to an appellate board,
comprising experts, but headed by a retired judge.
recent years India has emerged as a major global supply
source for quality generic medicines at a low price. NGOs,
who say drug makers are putting patents ahead of the medicinal
needs of the poor, feel patients with low incomes in the
developing world could lose access to vital drugs if Novartis
succeeds in overturning India''s patent laws.
role as a source of cheap generic medicines, especially
AIDS drugs, has been the bedrock of the medical assistance
programme in sub-Saharan Africa, which has two thirds
of the world''s HIV-positive population.
Sans Frontieres has said tens of thousands of people being
treated for AIDS will suffer if the Swiss company succeeds
in changing India''s patent law.
month, Daniel Vasella, chief executive, Novartis, said
was not looking to boost its popularity and would continue
its legal action over the Indian patent system to "serve
our patients and remain competitive".