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Gaceta Sanitaria

versión impresa ISSN 0213-9111


MOITAL, Inês et al. The Glivec® case: the first example of a global debate on the drug patent system. Gac Sanit [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.6, pp.470-474. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To describe the sequence of events involving the Glivec® case in India and to analyze the opinions generated in distinct settings. Method: We performed a systematic search for articles concerning the imatinib (Glivec®) patent in India. We selected those sources that described the events, decisions of the authorities involved, and press and scientific opinions. Dates and arguments presented by the involved parties were clearly identified. Results: Of 886 documents initially obtained, we selected 40 documents published between 2003 and 2013. Most of them were press news and commentaries. The process lasted 7 years, starting in 2006 when the Indian Patent Office rejected the patent application filed by Novartis. It ended in 2013 when the Indian Supreme Court upheld this decision. It was argued that the Indian Patent Law would facilitate access to medicines in the Third World and the final decision has received support by the general population. Although the court's final decision has been supported by several institutions, an objective analysis should also take into account the arguments of the pharmaceutical companies and other entities. Conclusion: The Glivec® case gave rise to an intense debate on the appropriateness of international standards on patents, their applicability and how they should be adopted in each country. This case, as well as other cases, should serve to stimulate reflection on the international patent system and to achieve scenarios in which the health of the poorest populations is protected but also balanced against intellectual property protection and innovation.

Palabras clave : Developing countries; Diffusion of innovation; Drug discovery; Generic drugs; India; Intellectual property; Pharmaceutical industry.

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