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Blog Posted in avatar   Earl Murphy's Blog

Dispute Between India and Drug Companies

By Earl Murphy
Posted Aug 20, 2012 in Politics
It is being widely reported across the globe that there is a battle going on in the Supreme Court of India over drug patents. Global drug companies such as Novartis are fighting against India's refusal to respect drug patents. Currently India manufactures the drugs for a fraction of the price that they would cost coming from companies like Novartis or Bayer and sell them at a low cost to developing countries.
The drugs are for important things, such as aiding those who have leukemia or drugs for those with AIDS in countries like Africa. Doctors without borders estimates that about 170,000 of their patients in Africa rely on generic drugs made in India at a low cost.
Whether this will negatively affect the supply to poor countries of the drugs is a matter debated between the two sides.
Of course, lobbying is ongoing amongst companies such as Novartis, as well as the usual activists who are campaigning and protesting against the drug company to drop the case in the supreme court as it will negatively affect many poor countries.
My opinion: India must have consistent patent laws in their country. If the government is simply changing the patent laws as they are going along, then it is reasonable that the drug companies should be putting pressure through the court system on the Indian government to create consistent laws.
If India's patent laws are already consistent, then I see no reason for India to give up their market share in providing low-cost generic drugs and this would seem to me to simply be a lobbying move by the large drug companies to maintain their monopoly on the drug market.

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