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Major Pharmaceutical Ruling In India Paves Way For Cheap Copycat Drugs



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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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Israel's Choice Right Now: Halt "Collective Punishment" Or Lose U.S. Support

As fighting has resumed and intensified in the southern area of the Palestinian territory, more and more criticism builds from around the world. How much longer can Israel fight this war for if it loses the support of even its most steadfast allies?

Photograph of Palestinians carry an injured man following the Israeli bombing on Khan Yunis. They are surrounded by people and photographers.

December 1, 2023, Khan Yunis, Gaza: Palestinians carry an injured man following the Israeli bombing on Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza

Saher Alghorra/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — Can Israel wage its war in Gaza without caring about the opinion of its allies?

Since fighting resumed in the Palestinian territory on Friday, serious disagreements have emerged with the United States and, to a lesser extent, with France. It is the disagreements with the U.S. that carry significant consequences: Washington plays a vital role in this conflict by supplying weapons and deploying a considerable military apparatus to deter the regional expansion of the confrontation.

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This weekend, both Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris expressed serious reservations about how Israel is conducting its operations. The issue at hand is the massive aerial strikes on densely populated areas, resulting in a considerable number of civilian casualties.

These criticisms came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel last week on the eve of the resumption of hostilities, urging Benjamin Netanyahu to change to a strategy that better protects civilians. Israel chose not to heed this advice, resulting in the current diplomatic tensions.

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