AstraZeneca-DRL patent case: Fate of Rs 2.35 bn drug to be decided today

British drug maker AstraZeneca's lawsuit against Dr Reddy's Laboratories to block it from launching generic versions of its medicine for heart ailments will come up for hearing in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.

AstraZeneca has dragged Dr Reddy's Laboratories to the court to protect its Rs 2.35 billion blood clot inhibitor drug Brilinta from generic competition.

AstraZeneca launched Brilinta (molecule name Ticagrelor) in the domestic market in 2012 and is now the largest selling drug in the segment.

Globally, the drug has raked in over one billion dollar in sales for the British drugmaker which is seeking to thwart generic competition in the Indian market where it enjoys over 22 per cent market share in the platelet aggregating inhibitor segment (medicines that prevent blood clots in vessels thus reducing chances of heart attacks or strokes).

Astra Zeneca contends that Brilinta is still under a patent protection and hence no generic copies should be allowed till the patents are in force. DRL is expected to submit its reply to the court on Tuesday.

One of AstraZeneca’s key patents for Brilinta expired in India earlier this month. 

The British drugmaker had filed similar patent infringement cases against Natco Pharmaceuticals and Micro Labs earlier in the year. Both the companies have been restrained from launching the generic version of the drug so far. AstraZeneca has been accused of 'ever-greening' which means to extend monopoly over the drug beyond its patent life.

“The matter is sub judice and no comments can be made at this stage,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson said.

Brilinta (Ticagrelor) prescribed for treatment in Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) disease, continued to register rapid growth. As per IMS Health, Ticagrelor franchise enjoyed 22 per cent market share (MAT March 2017).
With inputs from Samreen Ahmad

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