[Ip-health] ITPC Activists Occupy Novartis: Demand Access to Medicine Over Corporate Profit

Gregg Gonsalves gregg.gonsalves at gmail.com
Wed Feb 22 11:24:58 PST 2012


This is amazing!!!!
G

On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM, Matthew Kavanagh <matthew at healthgap.org>wrote:

> **
>
>
> Wednesday, 22 February 2012
>
> *For Immediate Release*
>
> *Activists Occupy Novartis: Demand Access to Medicine Over Corporate
> Profit** *
>
> *In NY, DC, and Boston, activists take over Novartis offices warning that
> pharma giant Novartis’ lawsuit in India could deny millions around the
> world to lifesaving medicines.*
>
> *Contact: *Matthew Kavanagh, Health GAP, 202-486-2488,
> matthew at healthgap.org; Darshali Vyas, Student Global AIDS Campaign,
> 859-420-6498, davyas at college.harvard.edu
> AIDS activists, students, and community groups “OCCUPIED” the offices of
> pharma giant Novartis today in three U.S. cities on the eve of the Swiss
> pharmaceutical company’s annual shareholders meeting in Switzerland.  The
> effort was part of a global day of action drawing attention to the
> company’s lawsuit against cancer patients and the government of India,
> aiming to reinterpret India’s patent standards to block access to
> life-saving generic medicines.
>
> In 2006, Novartis sued the Indian government after its request for a
> patent on its blockbuster cancer drug Gleevec was denied. The Novartis
> version of the drug costs roughly ten times the cost of the high-quality
> generics on the market and the company is trying to stop production of
> those versions.  Prior to 2005, India did not grant patents on medicines
> at all – a policy that fostered generic production of essential medicines
> then shipped to poor countries around the world. After a World Trade
> Organization agreement forced India to start granting patents in 2005,
> India created Section 3(d) of its patent law that requires pharmaceutical
> companies to demonstrate that changes to an existing substance actually
> shows increased efficacy for patients before a new patent is
> granted—preventing frivolous patents. Novartis was unable to show that its
> tweaks to the basic compound in Gleevec had resulted in improved efficacy
> in treating cancer.
>
> “Without this protective provision in place, patents will be granted
> indiscriminately on trivial changes to existing medicines, thereby
> preventing generic production and allowing drug companies to charge high
> prices,” explained Brook Baker, policy analyst for Health GAP (Global
> Access Project).
>
> India has historically proved vital in the global fight against
> AIDS—producing the vast majority of high quality, affordable drugs used in
> Africa and throughout the world.
>
> “Novartis’s shortsighted corporate greed could have disastrous long-term
> consequences for nations reliant on generic medicines. India supplies 80%
> of AIDS medicines in the developing world as well as good quality generic
> equivalents for many other health needs.  Poor patients will continue to
> need access to new, improved, and affordable medicines instead of having
> them blocked by successive patent monopolies,” said Darshali Vyas, from
> Harvard College and member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign.
>
> Since Novartis initiated action against the Indian government, protests
> have been held around the world. On Wednesday, demonstrators in New York,
> Washington, and Boston stood in solidarity with actions in India,
> Switzerland, and other regions. “We’re here to try to ensure that India
> remains the pharmacy of the developing world,” said Katrina Ciraldo, Boston
> University medical student and member of Occupy Boston’s Health Justice
> group.****
>
> ###
>
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-- 
Gregg Gonsalves
100 York Street
University Towers, 10-D
New Haven, CT 06511
Email: gregg.gonsalves at gmail.com or gregg.gonsalves at yale.edu
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