Glaxo faces new challenge over anti-ulcer drug rights

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The Independent Online
GLAXO faces yet another challenge to its anti-ulcer drug Zantac, an early form of which comes off patent in the US at the end of next year, writes Gail Counsell.

The UK drug giant said yesterday that Novopharm, a manufacturer of generic drugs, had filed an application with the US Food and Drug Administration, to market the early form of the drug, known as Form 1, from the end of 1995. A similar application from another company is pending.

In April, Glaxo launched proceedings against Geneva Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the Swiss drugs group Ciba-Geigy, and two other firms, Interchem Trading, a US chemical distributor, and Union Quimico Farmaceutica, a Spanish group, following a similar FDA application by them.

Glaxo maintains that only a later version of the drug, Form 2, has ever been prescribed, and that it is impossible to make the earlier form of the drug without infringing the patent on the later one. Form 2's patent runs until 2002.

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