Novartis fights patent rejection in Indian court

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Branded and patented drugs are often 10-40 times pricier than generics, said Dr. Amit Sengupta of the People’s Health Movement. In the case of Gleevec’s generic equivalent, a monthly treatment in India costs about 8,000 rupees, or $175 _ one-fifteenth the $2,600 price charged by Novartis in the country.

“That is really the margin between life and death,” Sengupta said, particularly if the verdict leads to more drug patents on older products relied on globally. In treating HIV, for example, the medical charity MSF says it buys 80 percent of its medicines from India.

The pharmaceuticals “don’t even care if people live or die so long as they make their money,” said AIDS activist Loon Gangte of the Delhi Network of Positive People. “We can’t let them win.”

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