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Novartis India leader responds to Glivec patent rejection

The head of Novartisí Indian operations has responded to the Glivec cancer drug patent ruling.

The head of Novartisí Indian operations has responded to the Glivec cancer drug patent ruling.

"India is not open for business," said Rajit Shahani in an interview with the Wall Street Journal website, Livemint.com.

In early August 2007, the court issued its decision to uphold the Indian Patents Act and dismissed Novartis' writ petition challenging constitutionality of Section 3(d), regarding incremental innovation.

The Swiss company filed an appeal after its patent application for Glivec was rejected. The drug has been granted patent in approximately 40 countries, including China; but was denied in India in 2006. Novartis challenged the section that it claims does not permit patent to medicines with safety advantages.

"Indian pharma companies and multinational drug makers push for changes in opposite directions on matters such as price control, data protection and definition of patentability," accused Shahani.

He concluded: "Novartis is likely not to appeal the decision. Our actions have advanced this essential debate in India, now itís up to the relevant political leaders and groups to work together to strengthen Indiaís patent law."

24th August 2007

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