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India’s top court to deliver Novartis judgment

March 31, 2013

NEW DELHI (AP) — A pending Supreme Court patent decision in India could reverberate throughout the pharmaceutical industry and beyond.

India’s Supreme Court is to rule Monday on a landmark patent case involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG.

The international drug makers have been pushing for stronger patent protection in India to regulate the country’s $26 billion generic drug industry, which they say often flouts intellectual property rights. They warn that a rejection of Novartis’ position could discourage new research and refinement.

At issue is a legal provision in India’s 2005 patent law aimed at preventing companies from getting fresh patents for minor changes to medicines — a practice known as “evergreening.”

The drug in question is called Gleevec and it’s used to treat leukemia and other cancers. It costs $2,600 a month while the generic version available in India costs around $175 per month.

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