Medicin laws set to change

Washington, August 7:

The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has expressed the hope that the Madras High Court’s decision in the Novartis case will lead to changes in India’s laws to ensure that medical innovation is encouraged.

USIBC’s reaction came after the Indian court on Monday dismissed a controversial claim by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis that it should be given the right to patent life-saving drugs and prevent their generic production in India.

“The issue here is encouraging investment in innovation to ensure access to the best treatments and cure for the people of India and the world,” said Ron Somers, president of the 250-member USIBC made up of American firms interested in growing trade ties with India.

He said 99 per cent of Indian patients who need Glivec receive it free of charge through Novartis’ Glivec International Patient Assistance Programme. “That sort of innovation and access is certainly worthy of society’s encouragement and protection.”

Greg Kalbaugh, USIBC’s Director and Counsel for Intellectual Property, said, “Glivec is the only hope for many patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. India, and the world, are surely better places thanks to innovations like this.”