Justice Prabha Sridevan, Chairman of Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), and Justice K Chandru, Madras High Court judge, addressed the Progressive Lawyers’ Forum on law and ethics and the post Novartis World at the Judicial Academy on Saturday.
Justice Chandru, while condemning the actions of BAR councils of going on indefinite strikes, he said, “BAR councils have failed in bringing any change in the system. It does not befit BAR members to go on strike. They should abide by the Indian law”.
Talking about the two major threats faced by the country, he said, “Foreign law firms must not be allowed to operate in India, as it will be a threat to our legal system. Legal agitation is another threat”.
Sridevan is one of the two judges of IPAB, who rejected the Novartis’ contention (Novartis is a Swiss-based multinational pharmaceutical company, who asked for a patent on its high-priced drug Glivec used to treat blood cancer), and upheld the grant of a compulsory license to a generic company that was producing the same drug at a lower price.
The Novartis drug was sold at Rs 1,20,000 for a month’s doze, while the generic companies were selling it for Rs 10,000 and even less than that.
“The decision to uphold the grant of compulsory license was largely based on ‘public interest,’ that was to provide important drug at affordable prices to common people. The price of a drug should be decided from the point of view of the buyer and not of the manufacturer,” Sridevan said.
She emphasised, “Public interest is a very important part of law, and advocates must take cue from the success of the Novartis case and feel encouraged to fight for public interests”.