Boycott Novartis campaign

25 Aug 2007

Drug Action Forum - Karnataka, India - an independent, not for profit, NGO campaigning for rational drugs has launched "Novartis Boycott" campaign.

So please sign the online Petition Against Novartis at

Boycott Novartis campaign

Each one of your signature counts. So please sign and express solidarity on this extremely important issue.

Drug Action Forum - Karnataka had to take this stand as Novartis has filed fresh case in the Chennai High Court, India (for details "The Hindu", Date:10/08/2007).

Though Novartis lost the case on Section 3(d), Drug Action Forum - Karnataka feels that if public opinion and pressure is not brought on the company, then this single case that is currently in the court may have long term implications on Access to Medicines topeople all over the world.

The background goes on like this. During the year 1998, Novartis had filed an application, at the Chennai patent office seeking the grant of patents on its drug Glivec. Novartis falsely claimed that the drug Glivec was an innovation. And rightly the patent application of the Novartis was rejected, under section 3d of the Indian patent act, by the Indian patent office at Chennai in January 2006. Novartis did not accept the decision of the Chennai patent office, instead challenged this decision of the Patent office in the Chennai high court. In addition Novartis also challenged Section (3d) of the Indian patent act. If they had won the case then the drug manufactured by Novartis would have cost Rupees 1.2 lakh, while Indian drug companies manufacture, the very same drug, for Rupees 8,000. The filing of these cases in the Chennai high court by Novartis created a huge flutter and a media outcry all over the world. As both these cases were rejected by the Chennai high court, it was rejoiced all over the world. Novartis also made a statement that they are not going to Supreme Court in India or approaching the WTO for dispute settlement. Thus it was accepted by people all over the world, that it was a success.

But Novartis filed a case, not in the Supreme Court, but in the very same Chennai high court, stating that the India Patent Appellate Body (IPAB) had erred in dismissing its plea to exclude its Technical Member S. Chandrasekaran from hearing its legal appeals. The case has been duly admitted in the court and is likely to come for hearing on 10 th September, mean while till then all the proceedings of the Appellate Body came to a grinding halt. The company claims that by bringing in a member of the Body, who had earlier filed a case against Novartis - he is already prejudiced – as he had earlier filed a petition on behalf of the government against the company. So the company wants some body else in place of this person, so that the prejudice is eliminated.

It is this case at Chennai High court, that has got stuck up that would determine the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Helpless and poor people all over the world are watching with intent eyes towards these developments, as their very life hangs on these court decisions that may even have long term policy implications. As this very case may decide and change the way the Section 3 (d) of the Indian act is interpreted. This is an act that shelves frivolous patents.
Because there are around 9,000 applications that are pending in the Patent office, seeking grants of patents. And no wonder many of these applications would be like the one that is not a real and genuine innovation. But just few minute changes made in the drug – which is known as "ever greening" of patents, thus wanting to be just rejected.

Even the scientist Brian Druker, who was involved in discovering this drug has come out openly against the company as he feels that the price at which Glivec has been offered for sale by Novartis is cause for considerable discomfort.

Drug Action Forum - Karnataka