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Viagra patent expires in June, says Brazilian court

29-Apr-2010

Pfizer will lose patent protection for Viagra in Brazil on June 20 after the Supreme Court (STJ) accepted recommendations by national intellectual property watchdog, the INPI.

The decision means that Pfizer, which sold $96.5m (€74m) worth of the erectile dysfunction drug in Brazil last year according to the AP, is likely to begin facing generic competition in just over a month, which is around a year earlier than it had hoped.

Brazil’s Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI) made the recommendation based on the idea that the 20-year duration of the patent began when Viagra was first filed with regulators, which was in the UK in 1990. Pfizer had argued that, despite being filed in that year, the patent was not finalised in Europe until June 7 1991.

The INPI welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision, commenting that generic competition has been shown to reduce the price of drugs by as much as 50 per cent.

In an emailed response, Pfizer told in-Pharmatechnologist that: "[It] accepts, but respectfully disagrees with the Court decision. The company will only manifest after access to the full content of the decision.
"The company advocates the patent period validity as a way to assure the return of investments made for developing the product in reference and others under testing phases, which ultimately reach to the market as medicines.
"This assurance of returning investments made on the research and development of new medicines is what makes innovation continuation possible."

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