Novartis has finally lost. The High Court of Madras in a landmark ruling upheld the validity of Section 3 (d) of the Patents Amendment Act, 2005. Novartis had challenged the validity of the Section stating that it was not compliant with the TRIPS. If Novartis would have won, then subsequently its drug patent application would have been held valid.
For a lay person, this is what is important from he case;
• For the developing countries, the prices of drugs will ever remain low and no monopoly can be acquired on such drugs.
• The Courts ruling invalidated Novartis’s patent application for a certain drug that would have raised the prices considerably and been a bane to the poor people in our country.
YK Sapru of the Cancer Patients Aids Association states,
“The issue is not merely of providing affordable drugs to patients in India, but also to patients in other countries, as India is the source of generic drugs to over hundred countries. This landmark victory will help avoid many deaths from life-threatening diseases in India and other countries.”
The issue also revolved around patents for generic drugs. The Court took into account that India is at the centre of the production of such drugs and upholding Novartis’s claim would mean putting at harms way the interests of the poor in other developing and under developed countries too. In a sense what it did was to endorse the interest of the patients and not the patent. These are times when you just love the judicial system in the Country. When it protects justice and not secure a multinational interest. A landmark judgment indeed!
The text of the judgment may be downloaded here.