Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has termed “historic” the Supreme Court’s rejection of Novartis’ claim for patent for its anti-cancer drug Glivec.
He said the Indian Patent Act was in conformity with its international obligations under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement. “It is a historic judgment. It reaffirms the position of Indian law and, in particular, provisions of Section 3D, which mandates… a substantive innovation… for grant of a fresh patent,” he said in a statement here.
Along with his Ministry, Mr. Sharma has been a strong votary of a compulsory licensing regime and has favoured no-compromise approach to the issue of life-saving drugs. “We have a commitment to the people of India, especially the poor, and will not succumb to any kind of pressure to grant patents beyond their normal lives….”
Novartis does not have a patent for Glivec in the Indian market as the drug was introduced here before India adopted its new patent regime.
However, since the new version of the drug is just a small improvement on the older one, India has rejected the company’s patent appli cation.