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Source: Act Up Basel and Change.org
India is known as the ‘Pharmacy of the developing world’ for producing and supplying affordable generic drugs to more than 150 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. But India’s capacity to provide affordable drugs to millions of people is being threatened by Novartis which is challenging a critical health safeguard – section 3(d) of Indian Patent Law in the Supreme Court of India. For the past 5 years Novartis has been dragging the Government of India and cancer patients to Indian courts to try and change this law. First they tried to have it removed from the Indian patents law. Novartis lost that case. Now through this court case, Novartis is attempting to weaken Section 3(d), a provision specifically designed by the Indian Parliament to prevent drug companies from abusively patenting known medicines. If Novartis wins this case and manages to change the interpretation of Section 3(d) to obtain the patent for its cancer drug Imatinib Mesylate, then India will be forced to grant more and more patents that will eventually result in killing generic production and increasing drug prices exorbitantly. India’s ability to act as the pharmacy of the developing world hugely depends on this legal battle between Novartis and Government of India.
While Novartis is playing with the interests of the patients across the globe suffering from life threatening diseases such as cancer and AIDS, this Swiss firm continues to make huge profits as its sales reached up to $50,4 billion in 2010.
The giant firm boasts that it bolsters the economic growth of Switzerland and protects the country from any setbacks from the financial crisis. But all this comes at the cost of the lives and health of millions of people in developing countries.
Novartis is taking advantage of this position, enjoying its monopolies over patented medicines and feasting on our dead bodies.
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