India's top court to deliver landmark Novartis judgment
NEW DELHI (AP) - India's Supreme Court is to rule on Monday on a landmark patent case involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG that focuses on demands by major companies that their investments be protected, against Indian companies that say they should be allowed to continue producing cheaper generic versions of many lifesaving medicines.
A decision in the seven-year legal battle is keenly awaited by the two most interested parties - big pharma companies and health aid groups - with both sides saying the outcome will set a precedent with far-reaching consequences for the future availability of the drugs.
"Across the world, people rely on India for supplies of affordable versions of expensive patented medicines," said Ms Leena Menghaney of Doctors Without Borders. "This case will have fundamental consequences."
The case goes back to 2006 when Novartis' application for a fresh patent in India for its cancer drug imatinib mesylate was rejected by the Indian patent office.