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Apotex Says It's Too Soon To Comment On Court Ruling In Nexium Patent Battle

From Canadian Press DataFile (June 18, 2010)


TORONTO -- A spokesman for Apotex Inc., the Canadian generic drug maker that’s working on a version of AstraZeneca’s Nexium ulcer drug, says the company is still studying a recent court decision that clears the way for the company to begin selling the medication in Canada in about three years.

The British-Swiss pharmaceutical company, which is among the world’s biggest drug makers, had asked the Federal Court of Canada for an order that would have restricted the Canadian government’s options for granting Apotex approval.

The ruling means that the federal health department is now free to issue approval to Apotex before Nexium’s Canadian patents expire between 2013 and 2019. That could open up the Canadian market for generic copies of the popular heartburn and stomach ulcer drug after 2013.

AstraZeneca said Thursday it was considering its options, including legal actions.

Apotex spokesman Elie Betito said Friday that the Canadian drug maker was still studying the court’s decision and wouldn’t hazard a comment on such a complex matter at this time.

He said there needs to be a different strategy for every drug, because different parts of Canada’s patent law come into play depending on the situation and there is a potential under Canadian law for the brand company to win compensation from the generic manufacturer even if its product has government approval.

``That’s why, on Nexium right now, we have absolutely no comment -- because we don’t know what the next steps are,’’ Betito said.

Apotex is a private company that doesn’t list its shares on a stock market.


Posted: June 2010