OMNI TV File: India’s Supreme Court denies patent to Novartis for anti-cancer drug

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

Multinational Drug Company gets knuckles rapped

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Finally, an example of some real democracy emanating from India – its Supreme Court has ruled that the multibillion dollar Swiss pharmaceutical company, Novartis, will not be allowed to re-patent an anti cancer drug called Gleevac — the newer version of the drug was not a new drug deserving a patent, the court ruled — the ruling has huge ramifications for cancer patients in poor countries who are supplied the same drug by a generic drug maker in India called Cipla — Gleevac costs $2,600 a month – Its generic version $175 — Aid groups, including Doctors Without Borders had opposed Novartis, fearing that a victory for it would limit access to important medicines for millions of poor people around the world — India is the world’s largest generic drug maker, a 26 billion dollar industry that supplies otherwise expensive drugs to poor nations — time and again we’ve seen how in the West, especially in the US, filthy rich global corporations tweak a drug to re-patent it for sale at abominably high prices, a practice called evergreening — Leena Menghaney of Doctors Without Borders said the ruling will end the abusive practice of evergreening patents to feed a company’s bottom line — she saw it happening with HIV medicines, where the cost has come down from $10,000 to $150 per year – my take: the majority of Indians make a dollar a day, putting them out of reach of even the cheaper generics – if only the Supreme Court could force New Delhi to tax the rich and redistribute wealth – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.


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