Companies must tackle patent issues: Swiss envoy

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) A day after India’s Supreme Court dismissed Swiss pharma firm Novartis AG’s petition for patent for its anti-cancer drug, the Swiss envoy Tuesday said concerns related to patents need to be tackled by companies and a market of 1.2 billion people cannot be ignored.

Refusing to directly comment on the apex court order, Swiss Ambassador to India Linus von Castelmur said: “There are some concerns in the field of patents but these have to be sorted by companies.”

On Novartis India’s decision to refrain from research and development activities in India, the ambassador said: “This is an entrepreneurial decision but a market of 1.2 billion people cannot be ignored.”

Speaking on the sidelines of a function, he said India and Switzerland has been cooperating in the field of science and technology since 2003 and will continue to do so in future.

Novartis AG had claimed that it is the inventor of the anti-cancer drug beta crystalline form of Glivec, or Imatinib Mesylate.

The patent right was denied to Novartis in 2006 by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the decision upheld by the apex court.

If the Swiss firm had won the case, Indian firms would have been barred from manufacturing generic drugs.

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