India Won't Patent Minor Modifications In Drugs
from the closing-the-loophole dept
It seems that pharma firm Novartis tried to use this little trick to sneak in patent protection in India for a leukemia drug that came out before 1995. It tried to get a patent on a slightly modified version of the drug, which would then let it ban the sale of generic versions of the non-patented version of the drug. Luckily, as pointed out at Against Monopoly, an Indian court has denied the request, since Indian law says patents should only be granted for new products, or ones where there's a significant improvement -- which is not at all true in this case. That means generic makers can continue to market their drug in India and many, many more leukemia patients will be able to afford the medicine. Novartis, of course, whines that this will slow down drug development, but the evidence suggests exactly the opposite. Having a truly competitive market increases the incentive for real innovation. What Novartis wants is to focus on marginal, useless innovation for the sake of keeping monopoly profits.