'Glivec patent denial to hit investment in med advancement'

'Glivec patent denial to hit investment in med advancement' Washington: Indian Supreme Court's decision Monday to deny patent to Swiss firm Novartis for its cancer drug Glivec will negatively impact the ability of companies to invest in medical and technological advancements, the US Chamber of Commerce said.

Expressing disappointment over the verdict, the chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center Executive Vice President Mark Elliot said: "The decision against patent rights in India today will negatively impact businesses' ability to invest in tomorrow's medical and technological advancements."

He said that upholding the integrity of intellectual property rights is essential to guaranteeing future innovation not just for India, but for other countries around the world.

This is especially the case in sectors like pharma and medical research, which require extensive up-front research and development expenses and exhaustive resources in time and manpower, Elliot said in a statement.

Ending a seven-year legal battle by Novartis to have exclusive right for manufacturing Glivec and to restrain Indian firms from making generic medicine, the apex court while dismissing its plea held that there was no new invention and no new substance used in the drug prescribed for treating blood, skin and other types of cancer.

The chamber noted, however, that over 40 countries including China, Russia, Mexico and the US have granted Novartis with patent rights to the breakthrough cancer treatment.

It said that a recent study -- International Intellectual Property Index: Measuring Index -- showed India consistently ranked last among nearly every indicator, and called into question its commitment to promoting innovation and continuing its path toward creating a knowledge-based economy.

"Unfortunately, this high (Supreme) court decision is a symptom of a much larger problem in inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in India," Elliot stated.

"The GIPC is committed to working with the Indian government and stakeholders to demonstrate how critical the integrity of India's intellectual property climate is to future innovation, free enterprise, and the lives that depend on these advancements," he said.

Meanwhile, a Pfizer spokesperson Sharon J Castillo told PTI: "We are disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court, and remain concerned about the environment for innovation and investment in India."

PTI