The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE: PFE; LSE:PFZ) patent for Viagra is invalid, ruling in favor of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) and allowing subsidiary Teva Canada Ltd. to market its generic version of the drug nationwide.
The seven judges ruled that Pfizer tried to manipulate the system and its patent for Viagra. The ruling effectively eliminates Pfizer's dominance in Canada's erectile dysfunction market, which was supposed to last through 2014, when Pfizer's Viagra patent was set to expire, and allows other companies to produce generic and cheaper versions of the drug.
“Pfizer had the information needed to disclose the useful compound and chose not to release it. Even though Pfizer knew that the effective compound was sildenafil at the time it filed the application, it limited its description,” Justice Louis LeBel wrote in the decision. “If there is no quid - proper disclosure - then there can be no quo - exclusive property rights."
The Supreme Court ruling paves the way for Teva Canada to sell Citrate tablets, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Viagra.
The ruling comes more than five years after Teva Canada initiated proceedings under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations challenging Pfizer's patent right. The ruling follows several years of litigation that saw the Federal Court issue a prohibition order against Teva Canada in June 2009; Teva Canada's appeal of the decision which was dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeal in September 2010); and the successful appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in April 2012.
"Through such litigation, generics have generated cumulative savings for Canadians of more than $20 billion compared to awaiting patent expiry," added Fishman. "There's no doubt that legal challenges to brand drug patents result in a spillover benefit to patients, drug plans sponsors, and the health care system as a whole. Teva Canada will continue to lobby the Canadian government for policies and regulations that encourage its future investment in litigation to provide cost-effective generic products that save Canadians money."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 11, 2012
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