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Affordable Access to Generic Drugs Is Safe—For Now
April 18, 2013
On April 1, 2013, a landmark ruling by India's Supreme Court ensured continued access to affordable HIV medication for the millions affected by this disease, including the 220,000 patients that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treats with generic HIV/AIDS medication.
This access has been under threat for the past seven years by pharmaceutical company Novartis, which challenged a section of India's Patents Act that prevented the practice of "evergreening," or extending the patent of an existing medicine by modifying it slightly. By extending patents, pharmaceutical companies prevent the manufacture of generic drugs. The ruling by India's Supreme Court is a victory for those fighting for access to affordable medicine—at least, for the time being.