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India’s Disputed Ruling on Pharmaceuticals and Patents

This post originally appeared on the Peterson Institute for International Economics blog.

On April 1, the Indian Supreme Court rejected the attempt by Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical company, to patent a new version of the leukemia drug Glivec. The latest verdict follows previous rulings that granted compulsory licenses to an Indian generic drug manufacturer for a kidney cancer drug (Nexavar) patented by Bayer. Five important questions are raised by these rulings.