Canada’s supreme court strips Viagra patent from Pfizer

OTTAWA, (Reuters) – Canada’s Supreme Court yesterday struck down the patent on global pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer Inc’s Viagra erectile dysfunction drug and opened the door to generic competition.

The court backed an appeal by Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd – the world’s largest generic drug maker – which argued Pfizer had been too vague when filing its patent, which runs out in 2014 in Canada.

In a unanimous 7-0 verdict, the court said Pfizer had not provided enough details to identify the active ingredient in Viagra.

“Pfizer gained a benefit from the (Patent) Act – exclusive monopoly rights – while withholding disclosure in spite of its disclosure obligations under the Act,” Justice Louis LeBel wrote on behalf of the court.

“As a matter of policy and sound interpretation, patentees cannot be allowed to ‘game’ the system in this way … (the patent) is invalid.”

Pfizer had previously successfully defended patent lawsuits from Teva in the United States, Spain, Norway and New Zealand.

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