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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Society

Colombian Gen Z Wins Battle For The Right To Have Blue Hair At Graduation

A determined student's victory for freedom of hair in conservative Colombia.

Expressing herself

Alidad Vassigh

BUCARAMANGA — It may not be remembered alongside same-sex marriage or racial justice, but count it as another small (and shiny) victory in the battle for civil rights: an 18-year-old Colombian student whose hair is dyed a neon shade of blue has secured the right to participate in her high school graduation, despite the school's attempt to ban her from the ceremony because of the color of her hair.

Leidy Cacua, an aspiring model in the northeastern town of Bucaramanga, launched a public battle for her right to graduate with her classmates after the school said her hair violated its social and communal norms, the Bogota-based daily El Espectador reported.

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