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Novartis loses legal battle over Gilvec

The Swiss company, Novartis AG has been fighting since 2006 to win a patent for Glivec a cancer drug, the plea for which today was rejected by the Indian Supreme Court. According to the law,   section Section 3(d) bars companies from making minor changes in existing patented drugs to keep extending the patent, a concept known as evergreening. According to the Indian drug companies Gilvec is not a new medicine but an amended version of a known compound As reported in the Economic Times article, Novartis’ Glivec is priced at an astounding Rs 1.2 lakh whereas local generic versions, which feed most of the poor countries of the world, cost a fourth of that.  This decision is being touted as a victory for the Indian drug companies who produce the same drug for a fraction of the cost.

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