Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (Ranbaxy), announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Pfizer Inc. to settle most of the patent litigation worldwide involving Atorvastatin (Lipitor), the world's most-prescribed cholesterol-lowering medicine.
This decision will allow for an earlier introduction of a generic formulation that will benefit patients and many healthcare systems throughout the world. Lipitor is the world's largest selling drug with worldwide sales in 2007 of $12.7 billion.
The agreement pertains solely to Ranbaxy and its affiliates and does not cover legal challenges to the Lipitor patents involving other generic manufacturers. However, as Ranbaxy was the first generic challenger to the listed Lipitor patents, it retains the right to the marketing exclusivity of 180 days in the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, Ranbaxy will have a license to sell generic versions of Atorvastatin and the fixed-dose combination of Atorvastatin-Amlodipine besylate in the United States effective Nov. 30, 2011.
Welcoming the development, Malvinder Mohan Singh, CEO and MD, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., said, "This comprehensively settles outstanding issues between Ranbaxy and Pfizer bringing to closure a number of ongoing patent disputes. It also provides certainty and visibility to the launch of Ranbaxy's Generic Atorvastatin, with 180-day market exclusivity in the US and an early entry in other markets. This will make the worlds largest selling drug more accessible to patients who will gain from the timely availability of an affordable quality option."
Ranbaxy will also have a license to sell Atorvastatin on varying dates in an additional 7 countries, including: Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Australia. Ranbaxy and Pfizer have also resolved their disputes regarding Atorvastatin in Malaysia, Brunei, Peru and Vietnam.
In addition, the lawsuits between Pfizer and Ranbaxy regarding Atorvastatin will be dismissed in select countries and the lawsuits between Pfizer and Ranbaxy regarding the fixed dose combination product containing Atorvastatin and amlodipine will be dismissed in the U.S. and Ranbaxy will no longer contest the validity of Pfizer's patents in such countries. Such patent challenges by Ranbaxy regarding Lipitor have been underway in numerous markets since 2003.
The Atorvastatin patents involved in this agreement are the basic compound patent, which expires in the United States in 2010; the enantiomer patent, which expires in the United States in 2011; and various process and crystalline form patents, which expire in 2016 and 2017; and the combination patent for fixed-dose combination product which expires in 2018.
The agreement also covers the fixed-dose combination of Atorvastatin-Amlodipine besylate (presently marketed under the brand Caduet, which also contains crystalline Form I Atorvastatin), a fixed-dose combination product indicated for patients suffering from both high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. The patent for the fixed-dose combination expires in 2018. The settlement also resolves additional patent litigation between the companies involving the branded drugs Accupril (in the U.S.) and Viagra (in Ecuador) and all patent litigation with Ranbaxy relating to generic formulation of Quinapril hydrochloride in the United States and Sildenafil in Ecuador.