HINDUSTAN TIMES, ECONOMIC TIMES (India) NEW YORK TIMES (USA)

Worldcrunch

NEW DELHI — In a landmark decision on Monday, India’s Supreme Court rejected a application by pharmaceutical giant Novartis for a major cancer drug patent, a ruling that could clear the way for cheaper generic versions of medicines to continue to be distributed around the world, the Hindustan Times reported.

After a seven-year legal battle, Indian drug makers can now proceed with continued production of generic knock-offs of the anti-leukemia drug Gleevec — also spelled Glivec in Europe, the New York Times reported. Gleevec can cost up $70,000 per year, while Indian generic versions cost about $2,500.

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Photo: Esme Vos

The battle has pitted a capitalist imperative to profit from innovation against a basic right to lifesaving medication at affordable prices.

YK Hamied, chairman of Cipla, one of the Indian generic drug makers told the Economic Times that the case was "nothing personal" against the Swiss-based Novartis. "I only hope that this type of verdict will help the country get cancer drugs at affordable prices and it is actually a victory for patients and for access to medicines at affordable prices."

The reverberations of the ruling could extend well beyond Indian leukemia patients, helping India continue as the world’s most important provider of cheap medicines, which is critical in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases, the Times reports.

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Coronavirus

The Vo' Paradox: Home Of Italy's First COVID Death Is No-Vax Stronghold

This small Italian town is remembered well for being on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. Now it faces vaccine hesitancy.

Headstone of Adriano Trevisan, first victim of COVID in Italy

Francesco Moscatelli

VO' — Out of 101 municipalities in the province of Padua, it ranks 100th. This northeastern Italian town is the "weakest link," where the percentage of citizens "not vaccinated-not registered," or the No-Vax as health officials call them, is 18.7%, six points higher than the national average.

The other statistic about Vo' worth noting: as of last week, this town of 3,277 residents ranks the 18th highest number of cases in the Padua region, says Dr. Piero Realdon, coordinator of the Ulss 6 Euganea company. The paradox of the town is all in these numbers. Italians remember it well, with the small town on the front line in the fight against COVID-19 when Italy became the first country in the West hit by the pandemic in February 2020.

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