India rejects Bayer plea against cheap cancer drug

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Several Western pharmaceutical giants say India’s 2005 Patent Act fails to guarantee the rights of investors who finance drug research and development.

Bayer said the patent panel’s order weakens the international patent system and endangers pharmaceutical research.

“The limited period of marketing exclusivity made possible by patents ensures that the costs associated with the research and development of innovative medicines can be recovered,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Swiss drug maker Novartis AG is awaiting a decision by India’s Supreme Court on the rejection of patents for its cancer drug Gleevec. That case revolves around a different legal provision allowing India to block “evergreening” _ extensions of patents based on minor changes to existing treatments.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the case is expected soon.

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