Processing Magazine

Wyeth Had Illegal Patents on Effexor Per Lawsuit

July 7, 2011

The Associated Press reports that a federal lawsuit filed this week in Mississippi claims a major pharmaceutical company made millions of dollars by misrepresenting clinical data and using sham litigation to maintain a monopoly over a drug used to treat depression and anxiety. Uniondale Chemists Inc., a retail pharmacy in Uniondale, N.Y., filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Mississippi against Wyeth LLC, which is now part of Pfizer Inc. The lawsuit claims the patent on Wyeth''s Effexor expired in June 2008 and the drug maker fraudulently obtained three patents on extended-release versions. Pfizer officials denied the allegations. The retail pharmacy claims Wyeth used the fraudulent patents and bruising legal tactics to corner the market on the drug, also known as venlafaxine hydrochloride, after the original patent lapsed. The lawsuit also alleges Wyeth lied when it claimed to unexpectedly discover the extended-release formula of the drug, relying on this claim to secure additional patents.