Fighting for people over profits
Update: We made it to 30,000! Can we get to
40,000 50,000 60,000?
India produces most of the developing world’s supply of generic medicines for HIV, cancer and other diseases. But if a giant Swiss pharmaceutical company, Novartis, gets its way, the “pharmacy to the developing world” could come to a screeching halt.
Novartis is challenging a patent law in India that prevents “evergreening” — a tactic that drug companies use to extend patents on drugs that are about to expire by making tiny tweaks to the medication. They don’t want India, the world’s largest producer of generic life-saving medicine for developing countries, to keep supplying generic HIV, malaria, and cancer medicines at affordable prices. If Novartis wins this lawsuit, it will cause millions of people worldwide to lose access to affordable medicines in the future.
Activists and groups like Doctors Without Borders, CARE and Oxfam have been working for five years to oppose this potentially disastrous decision, and the pressure is working. Just last month, they staged a massive day of action that put Novartis on the defensive. Novartis has even asked to meet with the activists to show they’re “listening”.
Now, it is all coming down to March 28th, when India’s Supreme Court is going to make its final decision. Activists have agreed to deliver our petition to Novartis just before this goes to court, as one final push to get Novartis to drop the case.
This is about more than just one company and one medicine. A Novartis victory would mean that patents would be issued for dozens of life-saving medications currently made generically, like vaccines and pediatric formulations of HIV drugs. This is a game-changing moment for global health, and we have to beat this challenge back.
For Big Pharma, patents mean profits. But for the rest of the world, harsh patents can mean denied access to life-saving vaccines, malaria medicine and cancer medications that can cost upwards of US $98,000 per year.
India has been called the “pharmacy of the developing world” because it manufactures affordable generic drugs used around the world. Now Novartis, which made billions of dollars last year in profits, wants to make sure that India’s Supreme Court overturns a law that would cut into that profit.
Sign the petition on the right to tell Novartis’ CEO that he can’t line his pockets by limiting access to affordable medicine.