US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co has filed cases against Indian drug makers Lupin Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma alleging infringement of its patent for anti-depressant drug Cymbalta.
The two firms had, in June, filed Para 4 applications to the US Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for marketing generic version of Lilly's top selling anti-depressant drug Cymbalta in the US.
In its petition filed with the district court for the southern districts of Indiana, on 24 November, Eli Lilly alleged that Lupin and its US-based subsidiary Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc have infringed its intellecutual property rights for anti-depressant drug Cymbalta.
Cymbalta, an anti-depressant drug whose patent will expire in June 2013, had annual global sales of around $2 billion.
Eli Lilly has also filed a complaint against Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc, the US arm of Hyderabad-based drug major Aurobindo Pharma, on charges of infringing the Cymbalta patent.
Eli Lilly had earlier filed cases against another Indian generic drug maker Wockhardt Ltd and three global copy drug makers in early November.
Till now, Eli Lilly has filed patent cases against six companies in the US, of which three are Indian firms, including Wockhardt.
The other three firms against which Eli Lilly has alleged patent infringement for its anti-depressant drug Cymbalta in US are Sandoz, Cobalt Laboratories and Impax Laboratories.
These six firms have actually applied for marketing approval of generic versions of Cymbalta under an abbreviated new drug application.
Litigation against generic drug sales is very common in the US and experts see Eli Lilly's move as another attempt to delay the introduction of cheaper version of drugs in the US.