Companies

Glivec case transferred to new apex court Bench

P. T. Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on November 20, 2017 Published on September 06, 2011

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The final hearings on Novartis' cancer drug Glivec at the Supreme Court have been transferred to another Bench.

The landmark case was scheduled on Tuesday, as part of the final run-up of hearings.

But a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Mr Deepak Verma – scheduled to recommence the hearings in the Novartis's appeal – released the matter from their board, a legal source told Business Line.

Further, the Bench directed that the matter be transferred to another Bench, the source said. The assignment of the matter to another Bench will now take place in accordance with the administrative procedure of the Supreme Court, the lawyer said.

No reason has been outlined for the case being transferred to a different Bench. In similar situations, the case usually goes to the registrar and then the Chief Justice, who transfers it to another Bench, a lawyer said.

The development comes even as recent media reports quoted health activists who had written to three Ministers regarding one of the judge's participation in an international intellectual property event, sponsored by overseas pharmaceutical and info-tech companies.

Benchmark case

The Glivec case will set a benchmark, as the final outcome will clarify the implementation of the amended Indian Patents Acts – particularly on issues regarding the interpretation and assessment of efficacy of the medicine seeking a product patent.

The case has been high profile with patient-groups keenly following its progress, besides the pharmaceutical industry itself.

Price has also featured in the legal contours this case has traced, as Novartis' Glivec is priced higher than the locally made versions of the same drug. Patents allow companies to exercise exclusive sale of the product in the market, for 20 years. Novartis on its part runs a patient-support programme where it supplies the medicine free to patients.

While intellectual property lawyers debate off-line whether price should be part of a patent-related debate, the case now awaits a new Bench and a fresh date for hearing.

Published on September 06, 2011
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