| WASHINGTON, April 2
WASHINGTON, April 2 The United States said on
Tuesday it was considering its response to an Indian Supreme
Court ruling that U.S. drug manufacturers warn is the latest
sign of a "deteriorating" environment for intellectual property
rights in the country.
"We are ... reviewing the Court's order. We look forward to
continued engagement and successful collaboration with India on
these issues," said Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the U.S.
Trade Representative's office.
India's top court on Monday dismissed Swiss drugmaker
Novartis AG's attempt to win patent protection for its
cancer drug Glivec in a victory for Indian manufacturers of
The U.S.-India Business Council on Tuesday joined other U.S.
business groups in criticizing the ruling, which bodes badly for
other drug companies including Pfizer and Roche Holding
AG, which have ongoing disputes in India.
"Over 40 countries including China, Russia and Taiwan have
already granted a patent for Novartis' Glivec and India now
stands out as unique for not granting a patent to this
incremental innovation," the council said in a statement.
"The denial of the Glivec patent may now exclude from
patentability many other significant inventions in the
pharmaceuticals area," the council said in a statement.
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
said on Monday it was "very disappointed" with the ruling that
Glivec was not different enough from previous versions of the
drug to warrant patent protection.
"This decision marks yet another example of the
deteriorating innovation environment in India," said PhRMA
President John Castellani.
Pfizer's chief intellectual property counsel, Roy Waldron,
in March told a U.S. congressional hearing India had created a
"protectionist regime that harms U.S. job creators" in favor of
the country's generic drug manufacturers.
India last year revoked Pfizer's patent for Sutent, a cancer
medicine, and is currently considering allowing generic
production of additional patented drugs.
"If left alone, this trend will destroy the market for
innovative pharmaceuticals in India," Waldron said at the March
He urged U.S. government officials to pursue both direct
talks with India and to "review all available policy tools,"
including possible action at the World Trade Organization, to
defend U.S. intellectual property rights.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office has a chance to
further comment on the Indian Supreme Court ruling at the end of
this month, when it releases its annual report on intellectual
property rights protection around the world.
India is already on that's report "priority watch list" for
countries with weak property rights protections.