Indian court spurns Novartis on patent challenge

Thrilling AIDS activists and frustrating the drug company, an Indian court rejected Novartis' challenge to its drug patent laws. Novartis claims the decision will discourage innovation. Indian law doesn't allow new patents on drugs that have simply been modified, rather than newly developed. That throws a big wrench into drug makers' strategy for combating cheaper generics: namely, using a few pips and tweaks to turn old, once-profitable meds into new, patent-protected ones. The ruling will help protect India's burgeoning generics industry from Big Pharma competition and, say patient advocates, keeps inexpensive remedies coming to populations that couldn't afford them otherwise.

- here's the report from the International Herald Tribune