It would be impossible to follow pharmaceutical news and miss the recent developments in India, where a court denied a patent for Novartis Gleevec (Glivec) a very important cancer drug that has been in use since 2001.
While the ruling was touted as both an unmitigated disaster for the pharmaceutical industry, as well as a model of how the US should provide drugs to poorer countries, it is really neither.
For example, according to Dr. Bloom, The Huffington Post really missed the point. Their splashy headline Strong Medicine: Why India's Rejection of Drug Monopoly is a Lesson for America.' has virtually nothing to do with the actual decision. Perhaps HuffPo needs its own lesson on how to read a science story.
He continues, On the other side of the aisle is PhRMA, the trade group for the pharmaceutical industry. According to a spokesperson, PhRMA is very disappointed with the Indian Supreme Court's decision to deny a patent on Glivec... [t]his decision marks yet another example of the deteriorating innovation environment in India.
In reality, both sides are wrong this ruling has little to do with world-wide consequences of pharmaceutical economic policies or with India choosing to ignore international patent law something they have been known to do in the past. It is simply a science-based interpretation of the merits of this particular case.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom has separated hype from reality in his op-ed called Gleevec- The Indian Court Nails It, which can be read in its entirety here.