Glaxo opens court battle to defend Paxil patents against rival

GlaxoSmithKline has begun a vital US court battle to defend more than £1bn in annual sales of its most successful drug, the anti-depressant Paxil.

Lawyers for the pharmaceutical giant yesterday set out their arguments at the start of a trial in Chicago in which GSK alleges a smaller rival has infringed its patents.

Paxil ­ sold in the UK as Seroxat ­ had sales of £1.5bn in the first nine months of 2002, two-thirds of that in the US. An estimated 15 million Americans are treated for depression each year. The drug is also prescribed for panic attacks, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and obsessive compulsive disorder.

GSK is battling Apotex, a Canadian firm with plans to launch a subtly different version of the drug. Apotex says it either does not infringe GSK's patent on the main ingredient in Paxil, or that the patent ­ which runs until December 2006 ­ is not valid.

In trial papers, GSK says it could lose 80 per cent of its US sales of Paxil within weeks of a rival being launched. Investors fear a repeat of the disaster which befell Eli Lilly, the US giant, when its drug Prozac faced competitors in 2001. Prozac lost 70 per cent of its sales in a fortnight because doctors and medical insurers in the US demanded patients use the cheaper version.

The Apotex trial is seen as a guide to further trials elsewhere in the US against a slew of other companies with other versions of Paxil ready for launch. GSK's shares ­ up 14p to 1,148p yesterday ­ have lost a quarter of their value in a year, partly on fears that it could lose patent protection on Paxil. The company already faces a shortfall in earnings from next year because of a lack of new products to launch.

GSK is trying to increase sales of a new controlled-release version of Paxil, which has longer patent protection, before generic rivals become established.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy