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The Boston Globe

Business

Novartis defeated in drug patent application case

Indian companies can produce generic leukemia treatment

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court rejected a patent application by Novartis for a major cancer drug Monday, in a landmark ruling that will permit poor patients continued access to many of the world’s best medicines, at least for a while.

The ruling allows Indian makers of generic drugs to continue making copycat versions of the drug Gleevec — also spelled Glivec in Europe and elsewhere — which provides such a miraculous cure for some forms of leukemia that the Food and Drug Administration approved the medicine in the United States in 2001 in record time.

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