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Novartis to Move Indian R&D (India)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis plans to move hundreds of millions of dollars in planned investments from India in the next few years in response to a court's rejection of the company's attempt to protect the patent on the cancer medicine Glivec, a ruling that weakens intellectual property rights on new medicines. Daniel Vasella, chief executive of Novartis, said, "This [ruling] is not an invitation to invest in Indian research and development, which we would have done. We will invest more in countries where we have protection. It's not a punishment, it's just a question of the culture for investment." India has enjoyed an upturn in investment by some pharmaceutical companies after tougher patent rules were introduced in 2005, matched by strong market growth and the presence of skilled and affordable doctors and researchers. However, other international drug makers have made larger investments elsewhere in places like China and Singapore, due to stronger legal protection. In the Glivec case, the court said that "incremental innovation" did not qualify the drug as a new chemical entity justifying protection. Novartis says such an interpretation violates World Trade Organization agreements and will be a disincentive for investment, because much pharmaceutical innovation occurs through incremental research. Vasella says he has no plans for a fresh appeal against the latest court ruling, stating that it is a matter for the WTO. (Click here for more - May Require Paid Subscription
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