A niche blog dedicated to the issues that arise when supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) extend patents beyond their normal life -- and to the respective positions of patent owners, investors, competitors and consumers. The blog also addresses wider issues that may be of interest or use to those involved in the extension of patent rights. You can email The SPC Blog here

Wednesday 29 June 2011

UK Atorvastatin hearing for 11 July

Chemist and Druggist reported last week that a court order was made in favour of Pfizer, restraining the sale and distribution of generic atorvastatin by AAH Pharmaceuticals, Phoenix Healthcare Distribution and Teva UK. The order states that, until a further hearing scheduled for July 11, the three companies must not advertise, offer for sale, sell or supply any atorvastatin other than that supplied by Pfizer or that agreed in orders placed before the injunction was issued.

The named claimant in the proceedings is Warner-Lambert Co, which Pfizer acquired in 2000. According to Pfizer:
"The patent at issue is covered by a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) that does not expire until November 2011, and Pfizer has applied for a six-month paediatric extension to the SPC. In 2005, the same court had rejected a challenge to the patent by Ranbaxy, finding that a generic atorvastatin product would infringe Pfizer's patent covering atorvastatin, the active ingredient in Lipitor. That decision was affirmed on appeal."
A spokesperson for Teva said the company was disappointed that Pfizer had used the courts to prevent customers receiving further stocks, adding:
"Our view is that the patent protection in place for Lipitor is invalid; and we intend to win the case and resume supply as soon as possible".
The order was made by Patents Court judge Mr Justice Floyd.

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