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Finland prohibits Ranbaxy's Lipitor

A court in Finland has prohibited Ranbaxy from marketing its generic version of Pfizer's cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor in the country.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 13:09 IST

In another setback to India's biggest drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, a court in Finland has prohibited it from marketing its generic version of Pfizer's cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor in the country.

The Helsinki Court of Appeal in Finland had granted a preliminary injunction against Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. prohibiting it from marketing a generic version of Lipitor.

The ruling involves Pfizer's patent (FI94958) that covers processes and intermediate compounds used to make atorvastain, the active ingredient in Lipitor.

"This decision is another significant milestone in our defense of Lipitor patents around the world," Pfizer Vice- Chairman and General Counsel Jeffrey Kindler in a statement on the company's website.

"It's also an important outcome for Pfizer and other medical innovators who invest in high-risk research to develop life-saving medicines for millions of patients," he added.

When contacted, Ranbaxy officials here declined to make a comment on the ruling, stating: "We are yet to read the details of the ruling and are not in a position to say anything."

The decision of the Helsinki court reverses an earlier lower court ruling and is subject to a possible appeal to the Finnish Supreme Court.

It will remain in place during further judicial proceedings including a full patent infringement trial that has not yet been scheduled. The patent expires in February, 2009.

This is the latest in a series of litigation between Ranbaxy and Pfizer on patent infringement over Lipitor in various markets, including US and UK.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 18:50 IST