Pharma slams India's refusal to grant drug patent

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"In order to solve the real health challenges of India’s patients, it is critically important that India promote a policy environment that supports continued research and development of new medicines for the health of patients in India and worldwide," said PhRMA President and CEO John Castellani.

The legal battle over Glivec began in 2006.

Two Indian drug makers — Cipla and Natco Pharma — already sell a generic version of the medicine at a steep discount.

Patient advocates praised the decision against Novartis as the right path for the developing world, where few can afford brand-name drugs.

"This appears to be the best outcome for patients in developing countries as fewer patents will be granted on existing medicines," Leena Menghaney, Medecins Sans Frontieres' Access Campaign manager for India, told Reuters.