[Ip-health] Landmark generic medicines victory Ruling puts human rights before excessive profits - Oxfam

Mohga Kamal-Yanni mkamalyanni at oxfam.org.uk
Tue Apr 2 02:42:33 PDT 2013

Landmark generic medicines victory 
Ruling puts human rights before excessive profits - Oxfam

International agency Oxfam has hailed the Indian Supreme Court?s ruling 
against a patent protection petition filed by multinational pharmaceutical 
company Novartis as a huge victory for public health. 

By dismissing the Novartis application which was seeking to patent the 
anti-cancer medicine Glivec, the Court ?has put public health before 
commercial profits? said Oxfam India's CEO Nisha Agrawal.

The ruling allows Indian makers of generic medicines to continue making 
affordable versions of the medicine, used to treat chronic myeloid 
leukaemia, which kills 80-90 per cent of sufferers.

Agrawal said: ?We?re not against companies making profits, but against 
companies charging exorbitant amounts for life-saving medicines in the 
name of patents. Patenting this medicine would have defeated the very 
purpose of it ? to treat patients? suffering from cancer. This important 
medicine would be of no use to cancer survivors if they can?t afford to 
buy it.? 

Currently, Glivec is priced at $2200 (120,000 Indian rupees) for a monthly 
dosage. Today?s ruling will make way for generic version of the medicine 
which will cost about $184 (Rs.10,000) a month ? more than 90 per cent 
cheaper than the patented version. However, even the generic version may 
still not be affordable to millions of patients in India where health 
expenditure is one of the most important reasons for indebtedness. 

Agrawal said: ?This ruling is cause for celebration. It should put an end 
to companies? challenge of the Indian patent law and attempts to evergreen 
their patents.? 

Medicine patent evergreening is an important strategy that multinational 
pharmaceutical companies use to extend excessive profits from so-called 
?blockbuster? medicines for as long as possible. Medicine companies try to 
extend the patent by slightly modifying the formulation of existing 


For further inquiry, please contact:

In Washington: Caroline Hooper-Box
+1 202 496 1173
+1 202 321 2967
Caroline.hooper-box at oxfaminternational.org

In New Delhi: Krishnaswamy Kannan
+91 11 4653 8000
+91 1146538099
kannan at oxfamindia.org

Best wishes 
Mohga -
Dr. Mohga M Kamal-Yanni
Senior health & HIV policy advisor
Oxfam GB
John Smith Drive, Oxford, OX4 2JY, UK
Tel:       + 44 (0) 1865 472290
UK Mobile   + 44 (0)777 62 55 884
Skype    Mohga Kamal-Yanni
Follow me @MohgaKamalYanni

Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.

Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International and a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 612172.
Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
A registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC 039042)

More information about the Ip-health mailing list