Home > All, Politics > Pfizer loses its Canadian patent on Viagra

Pfizer loses its Canadian patent on Viagra

November 11, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Pfizer is a US company with corporate headquarters in New York and research headquarters in Connecticut. It is not a Canadian company.

Pfizer’s US patent on Viagra was due to expire this year.

But when generic companies moved to enter the market, Pfizer piled on a ‘method-of-use’ patent over the same drug, set to expire in 2019. A federal judge upheld that patent after a bench trial last year, so Pfizer will be the only company allowed to sell [Viagra] in the US for at least seven more years, and prices will remain high.
Pfizer caught “gaming the system,” loses Viagra patent in Canada

One could call that ‘gaming the system’. The US courts did not.

In Canada, Israeli generic drug company Teva Pharmaceuticals challenged Pfizer’s Canadian patent. The Canadian court found that Pfizer’s patent did not include required information on the central compound, sildenafil citrate.

The disclosure failed to state in clear terms what the invention was. Pfizer gained a benefit from the Act — exclusive monopoly rights — while withholding disclosure in spite of its disclosure obligations under the Act. As a matter of policy and sound statutory interpretation, patentees cannot be allowed to “game” the system in this way. This, in my view, is the key issue in this appeal. It must be resolved against Pfizer.
Teva Canada Ltd. v. Pfizer Canada Inc.

“I would therefore allow the appeal with costs and hold that Patent 2,163,446 is void,” said the judge.

One is forced to ask if there is a pattern here. The US courts found in favour of Apple (US company) and fined Samsung (non-US company) $1 billion. The London courts found in favour of Samsung. The US courts allow Pfizer (US company) to game the system against non-US generic manufacturers; the Canadian courts do not allow Pfizer to game the system.

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