Novartis: letter sent by US Congressman Henry Waxman to Daniel Vasella, Novartis' CEO
HENRY A. WAXMAN, CALIFORNIA TOM DAVIS, VIRGINIA
CHAIRMAN RANKING MINORITY MEMBER
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
Qllungress at the dlniteh étates
19111152 of iwpresentatihes
COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
2157 RAYBURN House OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON, DC 20515-6143
Majority (202) 225--5051
Minority IZCZ) 22&5D74
Daniel Vasella, MD
Chairman and CEO
Novartis Intemational AG
Dear Dr. Vasella:
It has come to my attention that major international health organizations are deeply concerned about a position Novartis has taken in litigation in India. According to these organizations, when a Novartis patent application was denied, instead of simply appealing the rejection, Novartis challenged the public health safeguards in India’s patent law.
I do not dispute your right to apply for a patent or appeal a denial. I am concerned, however, that your attempt to influence domestic Indian law could have a severe impact on worldwide access to medicines.
India’s robust generics market supplies affordable, essential drugs both to its citizens and to poor nations around the world. Its law contains safeguards designed to preserve a balance between protecting imovation and promoting public health. If India is pressured to make its patent laws more stringent than its obligations under intemational trade law, this crucial supply of medicines could be threatened. Whatever the outcome of the case, the appeal could have a chilling effect, as countries contemplating public health safeguards in their patent laws fear they will be challenged by the pharmaceutical industry.
Because of the profound need for affordable medicines in the developing world, I am writing to urge you to reconsider Novartis’s challenge of public health safeguards in India’s patent law.
Download full letter here.