Novartis, Stop It

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is currently suing the Indian government over its patent law in an effort to further limit production of generic drugs in India. Among other drugs, the company is trying to stop India’s production of generic AIDS medicines that supplies more than half of the developing world. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has a great FAQ and bunch of other information on their access to essential medicines (AEM) site that you should check out if you are unfamiliar with the case.

Mika has been working on a variety of AEM projects for a while with quite a few important successes. From a certain perspective, some of the core calls for access to knowledge share common ground with free software, free culture, and anti software patent advocacy that I’ve been involved in. Of course, it puts things in perspective to see Mika and others in the AEM community point to millions of people and say that those people will die because of an IP maximilist position.

Last week, I went with Mika to a protest of Novartis near MIT. It was just below freezing, slushy, raining, sleeting, and probably the worst weather I’ve ever experienced in Cambridge. Despite all that, it was wonderful to join a large group of activists in Cambridge/Boston and around the world to send a strong message to Novartis. You can watch a video of the protest or see a set of photographs. Both were taken by my friend Jay.

4 Replies to “Novartis, Stop It”

  1. i personally think that patent shouldn’t apply to molecules, enzymes, genes etc.

    Novartis are dirty bastards i hope india won’t loose this battle

  2. Novartis is one of the world’s principal suppliers of cheap generic drugs. One of its manufacturing units in India leads the fight against Tuberculosis with global supplies of Rifampicin at prices which would not work a gum ball machine!
    The legal case before the Chennai High Court is a valid appeal to consider the intellectual values of a new delivery form and indication under existing and binding national laws and treaties.
    You may have endured the harsh outdoor climate of Boston in vain, for it was only as rational as tenshu’s expletive from the comfort of a keyboard.

  3. In fact, my partner has been involved in drafting one of the most important patent challenges that triggered Novartis’ lawsuit. The types of increase in efficacy under question is, in any situation, highly debatable. Novartis has more than reclaimed its profits on the drug that is implied by this challenge and is only interested in continued profits that will come at the expense of lives.

    Drafted by people with ties to the pharmaceutical industry (read Drahos’ Intellectual  Feudalism for details), the “existing and binding” international laws in questions are themselves potentially ethically suspect. But even with that aside, Novartis, and other companies, have challenged even the few protections for public health contained in these laws whenever they have been put into action by governments.

    In fact, my actions are rational and informed and, unlike Novartis’, motivated by compassion and a desire to save lives over profits and a higher stock price.

  4. This news don’t surprises me. Swiss has supplied armaments to nazis, stolen gold from jews (as THC shows) and receive money from currupt ditactors around the world. How beautiful is neutral diplomacy!

    Brazil can break patents of some very necessary drugs, as AIDS mix. India may do the same against the pharmaceutical industry mafia.

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