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Past Issue • Oct-Dec 2012

Novartis in India: Innovation versus Affordability

Professor Anand Nandkumar of ISB, Professor Charles Dhanaraj of Kelley School of Business, along with Mridula Anand, trace Novartis’ prolonged tussle with the Indian patent regime to get its cancer drug, Glivec, patented in India. The case is set against the backdrop of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board declining Novartis’ patent application on the grounds that the cost of the drug made it unaffordable for Indian patients. Novartis launched a subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court, whose decision* was expected to have significant ramifications for the global pharmaceutical market. Meanwhile, Novartis had to determine its innovation strategy in India and in the broader emerging markets.

Undaunted by recent setbacks, Novartis geared up to present its final arguments in the “Novartis versus Union of India” case before the Indian Supreme Court on July 10, 2012. The issue was over the interpretation of Section 3(d) of the 2005 Indian Patents Act, which demanded stringent parameters to demonstrate enhanced efficacy and novelty before any on-patent medicine could get another patent. This provision of the Indian Patents Act intended to prevent the multiplication of patents on minor changes to existing on-patent medicines (known as “evergreening”).


  • Anand-Nandakumar

    Anand Nandkumar

    Associate Professor of Strategy, at the Indian School of Business (ISB)
  • MridulaAnand

    Mridula Anand

    Independent innovation and IP consultant. She holds a graduate degree from Stanford University and has also completed her Law degree.
  • Charles 1

    Charles Dhanaraj

    Professor of Strategy and Global Leadership at IMD, Lausanne.
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