After years of struggling for intellectual property rights over cancer drug Glivec in India, Novartis ($NVS) will now have to fight for patent protection in the U.S. as well.
Bring on the discounts, China says. Former health minister Chen Zhu figures Big Pharma will need to give the government a break on drug costs, in exchange for access to a "huge market," Bloomberg reports.
Easter promises to be a nail-biting weekend for Novartis. That's because a final verdict in the big Glivec patent case is due on Monday from India's Supreme Court. So, the Swiss drugmaker will finally win its patent for the cancer treatment--or not.
Novartis and its cancer drug Gleevec had one of those days that starts off not looking so good and then something comes along to turn things around.
India's Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on a patent for Novartis' ($NVS) groundbreaking cancer treatment Gleevec, and Big Pharma and international aid groups are waiting with bated breath to see how it turns out, each for different reasons.
Why would Novartis want to persuade patients to quit taking Gleevec? Because it is going off patent in 2015, already has more competition and because the company wants patients to start using its replacement therapy, Tasigna, to keep them within its drug-selling fold.
So begins the court hearing that major pharma outfits with blockbuster ambitions in India are watching. Novartis has initiated its argument for the patentability of its hit cancer drug Gleevec in India at the start of a hearing on Tuesday in country's high court, Reuters reported.
The FDA gave its blessing to Bosulif, a treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive disease. It's a second-line approval, for patients who've failed on--or can't tolerate--another drug. Analysts figure the approval is worth $341 million in annual sales by 2016, Reuters reports.
It is the moment of truth for Novartis ($NVS) and its widely watched patent fight with India. But while this case is over its groundbreaking cancer treatment Gleevec, it will define what kind of intellectual property world drug companies will face there going forward.
The good news for U.S. cancer patients: New drugs get to market faster in the U.S. than they do elsewhere. The bad news: There's a higher price tag for that speed.