India vs. Big Pharma

TitleIndia vs. Big Pharma
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBoxall, SF, Funke, MB, Funke, RD, Myers, GA, Potthast, A
Corporate AuthorsAssociation for Practical and Professional Ethics,
Date Published09/2013
PublisherAssociation for Practical and Professional Ethics
KeywordsBIOETHICS , business , Intellectual Property and Patents , MEDICINE , Public Policy
AbstractIn April of 2013, India's Supreme Court rejected Norvatis' bid to patent a new version of Gilvec, a popular leukemia drug. Glivec's original formulation, which had held a U.S. patent since 1993, has never had patent protection in India, as the country had not offers patents for pharmaceuticals until 2005. Being a long-time supplier of low-cast drugs, India drafted patent legislation that would protect its ability to produce affordable pharmaceuticals. According to India's Patent Act, varients of pharmaceutical compounds cannot be patented unless they "show enhanced efficacy." Thus, the newer from of Gilvec was deemed unworthy of a patent according to India's law. The decision means that generic drug manufacturers in India can continue to sell the drug for only a fraction of Gilvec's sticker price ($2500).Some have celebrated this ruling, saying that lower drug costs will help save lives. Others fear that the loss of patent protection will discourage pharmaceutical companies from investing in new drug research.
NotesCase from the 2013 Regional Ethics Bowl. Copyright, Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.
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