SC rejection of patent plea discouraging: Novartis

Mumbai, April 1 (IANS) As the Supreme Court dismissed Swiss pharmaceutical chain Novartis AG’s petition seeking patent protection for its anti-cancer drug, the company Monday said that it will discourage future innovation in India.

Addressing mediaperson in Mumbai, Novartis India’s managing director Ranjit Shahani said: “This ruling is a setback for patients that will hinder medical progress for diseases without effective treatment options.”

The court dismissed Novartis AG’s petition seeking patent protection for its anti-cancer drug Glivec (Imatinib mesylate) in India stating that the company’s claim was “beyond the realm of patents”.

Shahani said the company had never been granted an original patent for Glivec.

“We strongly believe that original innovation should be recognised in patents to encourage investment in medical innovation especially for unmet medical needs,” he said.

The company also expressed concerns about India’s “growing non-recognition of intellectual property”.

“Investors want returns, but intellectual property environment is unfavourable in India. So, big pharmas would not want to invest,” he added.

Stating that Novartis will continue to file for patents in India, Shahani said the company will not invest in research and development (R&D) in the country.

“Novartis will introduce products in India, but will not invest in R&D. Novartis India will also continue to invest here, but with caution,” Shahani said.

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