Novartis Loses Patent Battle In India

India's Supreme Court on Monday rejected drug maker Novartis AG's attempt to patent a new version of a cancer drug. It's a landmark decision that health activists say ensures poor patients around the world will get continued access to cheap versions of lifesaving medicines.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a patent ruling that may affect millions.

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INSKEEP: The ruling comes from the supreme court of India, a country with a population somewhere north of a billion. The Indian supreme court rejected patent rights claimed by the pharmaceutical giant Novartis. This ruling opens the door for Indian drug makers to produce generic versions of Novartis' lifesaving cancer drugs and will make the medicine more affordable for people in developing nations.

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