Business

Pfizer heads to Privy Council

Camilo Thame

Friday, August 03, 2012    

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AMERICAN pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is on its way to the UK Privy Council to make a final appeal against local drugmakers.

But that won't stop Lasco Distributors and Medimpex Jamaica from selling their hypertension and heart ailment medicines.

Lasco told the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) that the Court of Appeal had accepted its objection to Pfizer being granted a stay of a judgment.

This means that Lasco is permitted to sell Las Amlodipine, the generic version of Pfizer's Salts of Amlodipine, the company said. It can also ask the Supreme Court to assess the damages caused by the previous injunction issued to Pfizer.

The Court of Appeal gave Pfizer conditional leave to appeal to the Commonwealth's highest court.

Pfizer had claimed that the local companies used its patent-protected drugs, Salts of Amlodipine, in their drugs.

The case led to an injunction barring the local companies from selling their treatments in 2005. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Lasco and Medimpex in 2009, and the Court of Appeal dismissed Pfizer's objections in June.

Medimpex has not publicised its estimates for revenue lost over the past seven years, but Lasco — a publicly listed company — had placed its loss at $400 million up to March this year.

Lasco Distributors posted a $136 million net profit on $2 billion in revenues for the three months to June 30.

According to records submitted to court, Medimpex had total sales of its product, Normodipine, amounting to approximately $45.2 million between 2001 and 2005, while Lasco's drug, Las Amlodipine, brought in $24.3 million between May 2002 and December 2005.

Pfizer sold US$1.2 million of its own product, Norvasc, in Jamaica in 2001, but its revenue fell to US$481,000 in 2002 when the local rivals introduced their hypertension drugs.

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