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India's Top Court To Hear Final Arguments In Cancer Drug Patent Dispute With Novartis

“India’s top court will hear final arguments … in a key patent dispute between Swiss drug maker Novartis and India’s patent office, a case that could curb India’s global position as a supplier of cut-price generic medicines,” Reuters reports. “Novartis appealed to the Supreme Court after its cancer medicine Glivec was refused a patent on the grounds the drug is not a new molecule but an amended version of a known compound,” the news service notes, adding, “Novartis has challenged this clause of Indian Patents Act.”

“The hearing, which is expected to last for at least two months, had been scheduled to [begin] on Wednesday,” according to Reuters, which writes, “The case has further built tensions between the Big Pharma and India, following a decision by the patent office in March to strip Germany’s Bayer AG of its exclusive right to sell another costly cancer drug, Nexavar.” The news service adds, “Western firms see huge potential in India’s rapidly growing economy but are concerned over safety of intellectual property” (Kulkarni, 8/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.