Health Highlights: April 1, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Novartis Loses Cancer Drug Patent Fight in India

Swiss drug maker Novartis AG's attempt to patent an updated version of its cancer drug Glivec was rejected Monday by India's Supreme Court.

Health activists said the decision ensures that poor patients worldwide will continue to have access to cheap versions of lifesaving medicines, the Associated Press reported.

Glivec, which is known as Gleevec outside of India and Europe, is mainly used to treat leukemia.

Indian generic drug maker Cipla makes a version of Glivec that sells for less than a tenth of the original drug's selling price, the AP reported.

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Bird Flu Kills Two in China

Two men in Shanghai, China have died from a strain of bird flu not previously found in people.

The men, ages 27 and 87, became sick after contracting the H7N9 strain in February. A 35-year-old woman in the city of Chuzhou, in neighboring Anhui Province, was also infected with the strain and is critically ill, according to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, The New York Times reported.

It's unclear how the three become infected. All three showed initial symptoms of coughing and fever, which later developed into difficulty breathing and pneumonia, said China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Officials said the three patients had not had mutual contact and dozens of people who had contact with them did not appear to be infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu.

Since 2003, the H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed hundreds of people, The Times reported.

Published
Monday, April 1, 2013