Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More problems for Novartis arising from Glivec

Further to Congr. Waxman writing Novartis, activists distributed leaflets at the company’s annual meeting in Basle urged shareholders to force Daniel Vasella, the chief executive, to drop two lawsuits they say jeopardise India’s position as “the pharmacy of the developing world”.

In issues brought to a head by Glivec (Gleevec), Novartis wants India to loosen its law preventing the granting of a new patent for an existing drug unless changes have made it significantly more effective.

Novartis says its actions were less about profits than the principle of intellectual property. Answering questions from investors concerned about the damaging fallout from the controversy, Dr Vasella said: "We don’t want popularity awards, we want to serve our patients and remain competitive." Glivec is Novartis' second-best selling drug with sales of $2.6 billion (£1.35 billion) last year.


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