Health and aid groups were clearly nervous before the top court rules on the Novartis case.
"Generic companies depend on the freedom to operate. If there are too many intellectual property-related challenges, then the companies very quickly withdraw from making that drug," said Menghaney.
The groups fear that a ruling in favor of Novartis would lead to a proliferation of patents — some based on a minor tweaking of formulation and dosages —on dozens of other generic medicines that Indian companies have been producing and supplying to needy nations at far lower costs than those charged by Western drug manufacturers.
And the fallout of the judgment will be felt across the world, says Menghaney. "It's not just about India."
"If generic competition on many crucial medicines ends, then prices for these medicines will increase, both in India and across the developing world. This would be devastating for millions who rely on India for affordable medicines."
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