Novartis AG goes to India's Supreme Court on Wednesday to seek patent protection for its blockbuster cancer drug Glivec in a case that could deliver far-reaching ramifications for multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in India.... Novartis's critics, including Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders], say that if the company prevails, it could set a legal precedent that allows pharmaceutical giants to patent a range of drugs in India that are now available from generic producers, including HIV medicines. That would demolish a thriving low-cost industry and lead to higher prices, not just in India, they say, but elsewhere in the developing world where India is a major exporter of drugs.
The World Health Organization recently issued new guidelines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The recommendations include getting more women on treatment sooner and staying on it for life. The guidelines have the support of the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF.
Hundreds of people marched in New Delhi on Friday to protest an ambitious free-trade agreement being negotiated between India and the European Union that patient groups and health activists say could severely curtail India's production and export of affordable drugs for millions living with HIV in developing countries.