A reminder that Novartis is still challenging Section 3(d) in the Indian Supreme Court against the sane advice of people from all walks of life from across the world…
Many of you will remember that in 2005, the Indian parliament had to change India’s patent law to comply with the international trade rules. The Indian Parliament knew that AIDS treatment costs dropped from $10,000 to $60 thanks to generic competition from India.
So they inserted Section 3(d) a health safeguard in the Indian patent law that does not let companies get patents on new forms of old medicines or what is know as evergreening.
Evergreening is the practice of pharma companies to extend their patent protection (i.e. a monopoly of 20 years) on old or existing medicines by making minor changes in them.
Since 2005, people living with HIV have been in the patent office using Section 3(d) and other provisions to make sure key HIV medicines are not patented in India. As a direct result of these efforts, generic production of lamivudine/zidovudine, tenofovir, neverapine hemihydrate and other HIV medicines has continued.
It would also interest you to know that the current lawyer arguing for Novartis in the Supreme Court is Mr. Gopal Subramanium who till just a few months ago was the Solicitor General of India.
Millions of lives not only in India but across the developing world depend on the whether the government of India puts up a strong defence for this case.The government of India has to fulfill its responsibility of ensuring generic production not just for the people of India but for the people of all developing countries. As a first step, they should appoint the Attorney General on an urgent basis for this case.
You can read news article related to the case like this one:
Since 2007 various groups have been asking Novartis to drop its various cases against India’s patent law. You can read more about this at these various sites:
Cancer Patients Aid Association: http://www.cpaaindia.org/aboutus/theglivecstory.htm
Berne Declaration: http://www.evb.ch/en/p19070.html