Novartis :: Protest against Swiss pharmaceutical Novartis challenge to Indian patent law

Hundreds of Indian activists protested in New Delhi against a challenge to the India’s patent law by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, saying the move could leave millions without access to affordable medicine.

Novartis, which makes the popular leukemia drug Gleevec – known in Europe and India as Glivec – is fighting the Indian government’s rejection of its attempt to patent a new version of the medicine.

Hearings started this week. And if the High Court in Chennai sides with pharmaceutical giant Novartis and agrees to grant a patent for its drug Glivec, it would set a precedent for other new drugs to be patented too, including AIDS drugs. And that would make it harder for the world’s poorest to get hold of cheap generic medicines. That’s what the campaigners are saying.