Court Rejects AstraZeneca Bid to Stop Generic Drug Maker
June 17, 2010
Reuters reports the Federal Court of Canada has dismissed AstraZeneca’s request to prohibit the country''s minister of health from issuing local manufacturer Apotex with a notice of compliance (NOC) for generic Nexium. Under the Canadian system, makers of branded medicines can request that the minister does not approve a generic drug by applying to block an NOC. The move paves the way for generic copies of the popular heartburn and stomach ulcer drug to enter the market before the expiry of AstraZeneca''s Canadian patents, the first of which runs out in 2013. Nexium is one of the world''s biggest-selling drugs, with sales last year of $5 billion. But Canadian sales last year were a relatively modest $217 million and AstraZeneca said it did not expect to alter its 2010 earnings outlook if a generic went on sale there in the near term. AstraZeneca said it was evaluating its options and could still initiate a comprehensive patent infringement action against Apotex.