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Reuters Examines Implications Of India’s Novartis Patent Ruling For Big Pharma

Reuters examines the implications of India’s Supreme Court ruling to overturn a patent on Novartis’s cancer treatment Glivec for the pharmaceutical industry in India and across the developing world. “Stung by a landmark patent defeat, Western drug makers will be wary about launching new products in India, but they cannot afford to quit a country tipped to be the world’s eighth largest market for medicines by 2016,” the news service writes. “The decision by India’s Supreme Court on Monday not to allow a [new] patent on Novartis AG’s cancer drug Glivec angered but did not surprise U.S. and European drug companies, given past intellectual property (IP) setbacks,” Reuters continues, noting “it is unlikely to send them rushing for the exit.”

“On paper, there is huge potential in India’s rapidly growing $13 billion-a-year drugs market, which is driven these days by chronic diseases such as diabetes as well as infections,” the news service writes. However, “India’s stance on IP has long been a thorn in the side of Western business, prompting calls by Pfizer Inc. and other U.S. firms last month for more pressure on the country to reform policies that can block U.S. exports,” Reuters notes. “With sales of patented drugs in Western countries slowing, emerging markets are a vital growth driver for drug makers,” the news service continues, adding, “India’s patent stance also reverberates beyond its shores, since the country’s generics firms export their cheap medicines across the developing world” (Hirschler et al., 4/2).