[Ip-health] Some recent coverage on the Supreme Court decision on Novartis

Achal Prabhala aprabhala at gmail.com
Mon Apr 15 07:18:05 PDT 2013


Greetings,

Kajal Bhardwaj and I had an op-ed in the Business Standard some days 
ago, where we addressed some of the common talking points expressed in 
the business press in India:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/why-sc-got-it-right-on-novartis-113040600272_1.html

Our note was primarily in response to the Business Standard's house 
editorial on the case:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/patent-problems-113040100576_1.html

Sudhir Krishnaswamy and I have a short write-up in The Hindu today on 
what we think this means for innovation:

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/why-novartis-case-will-help-innovation/article4617473.ece

---

One interesting little nugget from the coverage of the case in India: 
According to Novartis' own lawyer, the total number of CML patients on 
imatinib (ie something less than the total number of people who need 
imatinib) is 42,000 patients - of which Novartis gives away Glivec to 
about 15,000 people for free, or 35% of those in need 
(http://www.pharmalive.com/indian-court-novartis-lower-gleevec-price). 
In that link, the figures around CML in India are preceded by a 
statement from Paul Herrling of Novartis confirming that "90% of all 
patients diagnosed with that specific form of leukemia get Gleevec free 
from us..." The article doesn't seem to note the irony in placing these 
contradictory facts next to each other. And several media outlets in 
print and television who have picked up the '90% of CML patients get it 
free' line don't seem to have fact-checked Novartis' management against 
Novartis' own facts.

This is possibly only a small error and it's not clear if this is a 
consequence of lazy PR or lazy journalism or both, but it is 
nevertheless strange, especially when used to make the argument that the 
judgement does not benefit CML patients on account of most of them 
getting this drug free, in a country where 65% of them are paying for it 
directly or through their employers.

-Achal





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