Northern, WI 04/02/2013 (usastockreport) – The supreme court of India has turned down the Gleevec cancer treatment patent request that had been put forth by Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) (Current: $71.06, Down by 0.25%). In effect this allows the generic drug-makers in the country to sell similar drugs that are priced lower than the Novartis one. NGO’s in the country had been following the court proceedings very keenly as they seek to increase the access to medicines. There was already a ruling that was made in 2006 as the company had put up a patent request for the same drug then. The reason for denying the request had been that the drug was not innovative enough to deserve a patent. The Switzerland company maintained that it had taken them years of study and development to create this safe and effective leukemia drug.
Gleevec very effective
Western drug-makers have always been concerned about the fact that the country adopts a biased view and supports local generic drug makers like Natco Pharma Ltd (BOM:524816) (current: 452.40 INR, Up by 5.44%). The local pharmaceutical company’s shares jumped even as those of Novartis India Limited (BOM:500672) (Current: $587.95 INR, Down by 1.81%) dipped soon after the ruling was made public. Gleevec had proved to be very profitable to Novartis and it had generated $4.7 million in sales. Scientists agree that the drug has changed the way an otherwise fatal disease like blood cancer will behave within a patient’s body. Regular and consistent administration of the drug has turned it more of a chronic disease rather than a deadly one.
Law supports local businesses
In the court ruling, the two New Delhi justices, Ranjana Prakash Desai and Aftab Alam said that a repeat patent cannot be filed for the same drug and that it does not comply with patent law provisions. Market watchers are saying that since generic medicines have very low R&D requirements, the Indian government is trying to create a no-investment industry by denying patent request like the Novartis Gleevec one. The other aspect is that the western Pharma companies are not interested in partnerships with local generic players as they have concerns about the safety of their intellectual property.