Australian govt sues MNC in generic drug case [Rest of World]
Extending patents and delaying the entry of generics is being taken seriously in Australia as the government moves to sue the patentee for causing a loss of millions of dollars to the publicly funded drug provider system.
The Australian government is seeking millions in compensation from the multinational drug company Sanofi Aventis for delaying the entry of cheaper generic versions of its blockbuster drug, Plavix. Clopidogrel, sold under the brand Plavix, is an anti-coagulant used by heart patients and sufferers of stroke in various forms and strengths.
The government claims it was prescribed 2.5 million times in the past financial year, costing the government and tax payers more than $154 million. This was considered so excessive that the Australian government is said to have set aside $1.2 million to join the case filed by generics manufacturer Apotex against Sanofi Aventis.
Apotex had tried to get Sanofi's patent on clopidogrel revoked in 2007. However, while this case was on, Sanofi filed for an injunction to prevent Apotex from bringing generic versions of clopidogrel. The injunction was granted and reversed in March 2010. Apotex took Sanofi to court for the loss it suffered during the period. Now, it is joined by the government.