Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, has moved court against Dr Reddy's Laboratories. The company has sought to delay the launch of the Indian company's low-cost version of atorvastatin, the best selling medicine in the world, in the US market.
The drug maker, in its filing to an American local court in Delaware last Monday, said the Indian company's planned launch of a generic version of atorvastatin sold under the Lipitor brand would infringe upon its patent.
Pfizer sales from the drug under the brand name Lipitor bring in over $12 billion globally. The company has asked the court to withhold approval of the drug until one of its patents for Lipitor expired in January 2017.
Media reports quoted Dr Reddy's spokesman as saying that Pfizer had already sued it for other strengths of atorvastatin and it expected to sued by the US company for its 80mg ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) filing.
Earlier, Pfizer, in a similar move, blocked Ranbaxy Laboratories, another India drug maker, from launching a generic version of Lipitor in the US. In June 2008, the company opted for an out-of-court settlement. Under the agreement it allowed Ranbaxy to sell a low-priced version of the medicine from November 2011, following the expiry of one of its key patents on the same drug.
With the settlement Ranbaxy now holds a six-month marketing exclusivity for the low-cost version of its product as it was the first generic drug maker to challenge Pfizer's Lipitor patent. Analysts say the Daiichi Sankyo-owned Ranbaxy stood to benefit from the delay in launch of Dr Reddy's product.