Forget the resolution of the patent dispute. Who cares if Novartis is able to get its patent for a new form of Gleevec (Glivec in India)? The Indian Supreme Court today asked Novartis lawyers to tell their client to lower its prices.
One justice called the existing pricing of Glivec "shocking" and complained drug prices are already too high in India.
Novartis says that it has one of the most active and largest donation programs for the poor amongst drug companies. Their attorney said the company did not want to "profiteer without a conscience".
The Supreme Court said their donation plan was a "complicated scheme for idenitifying those who are entitled to given free meds and those who can afford to pay 80 days of the annual cost of Glivec." The Court said Novartis should earn goodwill by lowering its price.
Egads! That doesn't bode well for Novartis' case does it? What's more? It is another indication that big pharma won't necessarily be able to go to emerging markets to drive revenue gains. India, in particular, is being very aggressive in sending the message that high prices for cancer meds aren't going to be tolerated -- whether that translates as a direct request to lower price or a grant of a compulsory license to a local generic manufacturer (see Bayer Nexavar).
Posted by Bruce Lehr Sep 12th 2012