Novartis ruling opens doors for Indian pharma firms

The Supreme Court’s rejection of Swiss drugmaker Novartis’ patent application for its blockbuster anti-cancer drug Glivec is poised to give a boost to domestic generic drug manufacturers by providing clarity on the extent of innovation required to retain patents in India.

The decision means Indian generic drugmakers can continue to sell copies of the drug at a lower price in India — and that is a blow for some multinationals banking on easy patent power.

Novartis shares plunged 6.8% to Rs.558 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, a 14-month low after the judgment, before recovering losses to end down 1.8% to Rs.588.

Domestic drug majors, however, registered gains with Cipla climbing 1.2% to Rs.384, Ranbaxy 2.7% to Rs.452 and Natco Pharma 5.4% to Rs.452.

Glivec, which is used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia and other forms of cancer, costs Rs.1,20,000 a month.

The generic equivalent is currently available in India for about Rs.8500.

For Indian generic firms, especially Cipla, Ranbaxy and Natco, which have been selling similar versions of the drug, it is a welcome move.

Source: Hindustan Times

 

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