Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

13 September 2011

Analysis: Legal case in India threatens HIV drug access for poorest

A technical case going through the Supreme Court in India is being carefully watched by aid agencies and other human rights organisations, who claim it could have severe consequences for the supply of lifesaving drugs to the developing world.

More than 90% of drugs used to treat children with AIDS in Africa come from Indian generic manufacturers, according to the medical NGO Medicins Sans Frontieres. And if the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis wins a case it has brought against the Indian government, MSF fears that supply could dry up.

Novartis is seeking patent protection for its leukaemia drug Glivec, whose patent has expired in India. It is challenging India’s interpretation of a section of the nation’s patent law — Section 3(d) — which prevents ‘evergreening’.

Evergreening is a common method used by drug companies to extend the life of their patents. They make slight alterations to the basis molecule every few years and apply for fresh patents for the amended versions, which then prevents generic copies of the drugs being made.

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