Zurich: Novartis will probably move large investments in India elsewhere after an Indian court backed a law viewed as weakening patent protections, Chief Executive Daniel Vasella said.
“This is not an invitation to invest in Indian research and development, which we would have done. We will invest more in countries where we have protection. It is not a punishment, rather it is just a question of the culture that is there for investment.”
Earlier in August, an Indian court had rejected a challenge by Switzerland’s Novartis to Indian law that denies patents for minor improvements to known drugs.
Vasella confirmed to a financial daily that his “concrete plans” for investment in India had stalled during the trial and that the investment would now go elsewhere.
The closely-watched case had become a key battle in the long-running war between multinational drug firms and humanitarian campaigners, who say “big pharma” is putting patents ahead of patients.
Novartis says the Indian patent system stifles innovation, such as making a drug more heat-resistant or able to be swallowed rather than injected.