Pfizer has filed lawsuits against a second group of operators of eighteen internet sites for selling unapproved and illegal copies of Pfizer’s leading cholesterol medicine, LIPITOR®, the company said today.
Pfizer said the sites market products identified as “generic Lipitor” or “Lipitor generic,” which are not legitimate medicines. LIPITOR® is patent-protected and no generic versions of the medication are legally available in the United States. Tests performed on tablets obtained from two of the websites showed that they contained no atorvastatin calcium, the active ingredient in LIPITOR®, and therefore would provide no therapeutic benefit to patients. Pfizer has notified the FDA of its findings.
All the lawsuits seek injunctions against further sales of “generic Lipitor” or “Lipitor generic” and claim damages for infringement of Pfizer’s trademark rights. The complaints also seek to remove references to LIPITOR® in advertising materials and to eliminate computer links that misdirect patients to illegal, unapproved products. In addition, Pfizer has filed patent infringement claims against ten site operators to recoup damages and to enjoin further sales of “generic Lipitor” or “Lipitor generic” containing a crystalline form of atorvastatin calcium.
“We want to make consumers aware that many internet sites are selling fake pharmaceutical products that provide little or no benefit to patients and may, in fact, be dangerous,” said Jeff Kindler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Pfizer. “We also want to put operators of these illegal sites on notice that there is a price to pay for their actions.”
Suits were filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware against the following individuals and sites:
Pfizer filed similar suits in April and May against the operators of six other sites selling an unapproved version of LIPITOR®. In August, the company took legal action against 30 sites and two operators selling illegal versions of Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction medication, VIAGRA®.