Glivec (Gleevec) by Novartis (Wikipedia)
India stands up against drug “evergreening”: In 2006, India rejected the Novartis’ patent application for Glivec, developed in the 1990s and considered a major breakthrough in the treatment of certain cancers. India argued the latest version of the drug isn’t a significant enough improvement to warrant patent protection under its laws. Novartis sued India, saying the move violates India’s World Trade Organization obligations. Currently, our laws force companies to prove new versions of their products are therapeutically more beneficial than earlier versions on which patents had expired. It is under this section of the patent law that the patent authority and the Indian courts have thus far refused to patent Glivec. Finally, we get *something* right! WSJ is spinning this into something else entirely.
Foreign banks with 20 branches or more will face the same Priority Sector Lending (PSL) requirements as domestic banks. Citibank, Standard Chartered, HSBC and RBS must soon direct 18% of their loans to agriculture, from zero today. The idea of foreign banks forging into agricultural lending with no underwriting experience and largely urban branches is asinine. (LiveMint)
The European Central Bank wants to buy up peripheral country (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, etc…) debt in order to drive down their funding costs. As one might expect, Germany, and other Northern European states are not thrilled. Germany’s Bundesbank on Monday warned that any move to share “solvency risks” across the euro zone should be decided by governments and not the ECB. Economists have already expressed reservations about the efficacy of the whole idea. However, Germany’s director at the ECB, Jörg Asmussen, signaled full backing for the bond rescue plan of ECB chief Mario Draghi, brushing aside warnings from the German Bundesbank. This may prove to be the “game changer” that critics around the world have been demanding for two years. Besides, the ECB will not intervene until debtor states request a formal bail-out from the eurozone’s EFSF and ESM rescue funds, and sign a “memorandum” giving up fiscal sovereignty.
In what should not come as a shock to our readers: China has built even more capacity since then, which is able to serve the demand from a global economy does not exist, and will not exist. Capacity utilization has dropped from about 80% before the crisis to a mere 60% in 2011.
Caterpillar’s downright gloomy: The global economic outlook is more uncertain than at the start of the crisis in late 2008. (FT)
Yesterday’s roundup: Dow -0.1% to 13262. S&P -0.09%.Stoxx 50 -0.2%, Germany -0.1%, France -0.2%, Italy -1.1%, Spain -1.4%, U.K. -0.5%.