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Philippine Court Denies Pfizer Petition To Block Generic Drug Variant

Court Denies Pfizer Petition To Block Generic Drug Variant [The Manila Times, Philippines]

From Manila Times (Phillipines) (February 12, 2010)

Feb. 12--A LOCAL court has denied pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s bid to stop the sale of a generic version of an anti-hypertensive drug manufactured by Philippine drug-maker United Laboratories Inc. (Unilab).

In an order dated February 8, Judge Joselito Villarosa of the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 66 said, "The court finds no extreme urgency and paramount necessity for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction," as "the plaintiffs have yet to establish its right in esse."

In a statement, Pfizer said it would ask the court to reconsider its ruling on the generic version of Atorvastatin Calcium.

"Pfizer will file a motion for reconsideration as it still believes in the strong merits of its case, and to give the court a chance to reevaluate the evidence presented before it. Pfizer is determined, as usual, to pursue with full vigor all possible legal remedies to run after infringers of its patents," Ramon Esguerra, Pfizer's counsel, said.

"The court will still hear and receive the evidence on the main infringement case. [We trust] that after deeper review of the evidence, the court will ultimately decide in Pfizer's favor," the lawyer said.

Pfizer and co-plaintiff Warner Lambert Co. LLC had filed a patent infringement case against Unilab in October last year.

Pfizer said it owns the Philippine patent of Atorvastatin Calcium, adding this patent would expire in 2012. The drug is sold by the company under the brand name Lipitor .

Unilab and its sister company Therapharma Inc. also in October last year had released Avamax, a generic version of Atorvastatin.

Unilab had also filed an invalidation case against Pfizer's Atorvastatin patent before the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines in July last year, but this case is still pending.

"Pfizer could file for a motion for reconsideration, but on what grounds?" Jose Maria Ochave, corporate vice president of Unilab's legal services group, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

"During the court's cross-examination, Pfizer's witnesses admitted that the patent in question was expired," Ochave said.

To see more of The Manila Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.manilatimes.net.

Copyright (c) 2010, The Manila Times, Philippines

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Posted: February 2010


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