Novartis awaits SC verdict on patent claim
New Delhi (IANS): In a judgment that could have far-reaching consequences on marketing of drugs whose manufacturers seek patent protection in the...
New Delhi (IANS): In a judgment that could have far-reaching consequences on marketing of drugs whose manufacturers seek patent protection in the Indian market, the Supreme Court expected on Monday pronounce its verdict on Novartis AG's claim that its anti-cancer drug Glivec was covered under the patent law. Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, in a hearing spread over several months, had told a bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai that it was the author of the beta-crystalline form of chemical imatinib mesylate, used in treatment of chronic mycloid leukaemia and thus was entitled to get it patented in India for exclusive marketing rights. Staking its claim for the invention and for getting the drug patented in India, Novartis AG, represented by senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, contended that that imatinib mesylate was known to chemists the world over but its beta-crystalline form was developed by the Swiss pharma giant. The firm contended before the court that though the chemical compound was known, its efficacy as an anti-cancer drug was not and this was discovered by Novartis AG. Novartis AG had challenged before the apex court the decision of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which it said, while holding that beta crystalline form of imatinib mesylate was an invention but did not agree to grant it a patent. Novartis AG's anti-cancer drug marketed by the name of Glivec (imatinib mesylate) is used for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumours (MGST). "Can there be a situation that a product is an innovation under 2(j) and 2(j)(a) of the Patent Act and sought to denuded of invention under 3(d) in terms of pharmaceutical efficacy," the MNC drug manufacturer had told the court.