Tuesday, March 27, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Part Two of The Current
India Drug Patent - Stop Novartis campaign
India is often called the pharmacy of the developing world because it produces a large number of high-quality, low-cost medicines. It's likely saved the life of Vikas Ahuja. He's an HIV-positive man in New Delhi, and he gets his treatment free of charge from the Indian government. We heard from him.
But a case will soon be making its way through India's Supreme Court that could have life-or-death implications for millions of people around the world who live with critical illnesses like AIDS and cancer .
The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis hopes to change Indian law to more easily extend the patents on its products and prevent generic companies from producing the same medicines more cheaply. The case involves a cancer drug called Gleevec. Novartis says it's new, but lower courts consider it a slightly different formulation of a known drug. Global health advocates worry if Novartis wins, the precedent would be set for other drugs -- and cheaper, generic versions would disappear.
Vikas Ahuja believes his life and the lives of hundreds of thousands are in danger if drug prices rise. Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders has launched a Stop Novartis campaign to raise awareness about the effects their actions would have on global health. Dr. Unni Karunakara is MSF's International President, and we reached him in Geneva, Switzerland this morning.
We requested an interview with Novartis, and they declined our invitation.
We heard earlier from Vikas Ahuja, an HIV positive man in New Delhi who credits his health to India's cheap drugs. He knows first-hand how desperate people can become when they can't afford treatment. We heard from him again.
India Drug Patent - Patent Agent
Nathaniel Lipkus is a lawyer and patent agent with Gilbert's in Toronto and the Chair of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada's International Trade Policy Committee. His clients include both generic and brand name drug manufacturers. Part of his job includes examining patents and evaluating just how strong or weak they are. Nathaniel Lipkus was in our Toronto studio.
This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Liz Hoath.
Well the NDP marched into the House yesterday behind its new leader, Thomas Mulcair. And yesterday, three party insiders offered their predictions on which way the party is headed. And we had a bit of time to go through some response to this item.
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Other segments from today's show: