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Novartis halts India investments over patent row

business Updated: Aug 22, 2007 22:37 IST
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Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has called a halt to multi-million-dollar investments in India in a row over patent protection, the Financial Times of London reported Wednesday.

Following an unfavourable decision for Novartis by an Indian court in a patent protection case, company head Daniel Vasella told the newspaper that hundreds of millions of dollars in investments to expand research capabilities in India would not now go ahead.

A spokesman for the company in the Swiss town of Basel confirmed the report Wednesday.

Vasella did not give any details of what his original investment plans in India were, but told the newspaper he would move them to another country where patents were protected. Novartis had wanted to clarify the constitutionality of certain conditions placed on its patents in a petition to the Indian courts.

The court dismissed the company's petition and referred it to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The decision was "not an invitation to invest in Indian research and development, which we would have done," Vasella told the newspaper.