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.