India makes cheap medicines for poor people around the world. The EU, pharmaceutical firms and now the US are pressuring the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’ to change tack
Next month, the supreme court of India will hear final arguments in a long-running case between Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis and the Indian government. Novartis is seeking extended intellectual property protection for a marginally modified anti-cancer drug, Glivec, for which the original patent has run out. This is a practice known as evergreening, seen by many as an unfair way for pharmaceutical companies to maintain artificially high drug prices in developing markets. That is certainly the view of the Indian government, which, in 2005, inserted a clause into its intellectual property law deliberately intended to prevent the practice.