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South Centre hails Indian drug patent decision

We have discussed the role of property rights in the process of development. The recent Indian case is one in which a broader definition of property rights, one which may be seen by some conservative economists as a violation of patents held by corporations, may actually help the process of development.

From SOUTHNEWS, by Martin Khor:
"The ruling by the Supreme Court of India dismissing the petition from Novartis AG is a historic decision with positive global implications ... The Novartis AG application had claimed a patent for a new salt form (imatinib mesylate), a medicine for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Novartis sells this medicine in several countries under the brand name Glivec (Gleevec). The Indian patent office had rejected the patent application on the ground that the claimed new form was anticipated in a US patent of 1996 for the compound imatinib and that the new form did not enhance the therapeutic efficacy of the drug. The decision was upheld by the Indian Patents Appellate Board (IPAB).
...
The decision by the Supreme Court of India has significant positive global implications. It has effectively protected the leading role of India in supplying affordable medicines to other developing countries. The reaffirmation of the primacy of health and access to medicines as a right of citizens is particularly important for the international community when these rights are under significant threat under bilateral trade and investment agreements."

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