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      Pfizer marks another win against generic drugs

      Posted AtNewYorkBuysiness.com

      Pfizer Inc. logged another win against generic drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Inc. in its battle to protect the patents of its drugs.

      A New Jersey court upheld a preliminary injunction late yesterday prohibiting India's Ranbaxy from selling a generic version of Pfizer's high blood pressure treatment, Accupril. The court also halted Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. from marketing a generic version.The ruling stems from a patent infringement case filed by Pfizer in March against the two generic drugmakers. Accupril, which had sales of $665 million last year, has patent exclusivity until 2007. Pfizer said that other "non-infringing formulations" are currently being sold in the U.S.

      Pfizer's vice chairman and general counsel, Jeff Kindler, said in a statement that the court's resolution "sends a clear message that the law does not encourage or excuse infringement of valid pharmaceutical patents by generic companies."

      The decision marks the second time this month that Pfizer won court rulings against Ranbaxy.

      Earlier this month, a court in Norway barred Ranbaxy from selling a generic form of Lipitor there, and a British court in October dismissed Ranbaxy's motion challenging a patent covering Lipitor's active ingredient. Lipitor's patent extends until 2011.

      Ranbaxy, Teva and Pfizer will still face off in the Accupril battle. The case is headed to trial in the District Court in New Jersey, where Pfizer is seeking damages for lost sales. "Ranbaxy intends to vigorously challenge infringement, validity and enforceability of the patent in further proceedings before the district court," said Jay Deshmukh, Ranbaxy vice president of global intellectual property, in a statement.

      November 23, 2005


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