October 17, 2006
Supreme Court dismisses Zoloft patent case
The US Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from generic drugmaker Apotex over a patent challenge to Pfizer’s blockbuster antidepressant Zoloft.
The appeal was dismissed following a request from Pfizer, which saw its key Zoloft patent expire in July. According to published reports, Pfizer argued the Supreme Court case was moot because Teva Pharmaceutical began selling a generic version of Zoloft in August, opening up the drug to generic competition after Teva enjoys a six-month exclusivity period.
At issue in the case are complex procedures generic drug companies can use to compete against blockbuster brand names. According to an Associated Press report, Apotex sought to get court orders that could have prompted FDA approval of a Zoloft alternative and given the company a head start against its competitor, Teva.
Apotex, in court filings, opposed Pfizer’s call for dismissal of the high court appeal, arguing the underlying legal issue in the case “remains very much a live controversy of critical importance to Apotex, the generic pharmaceutical industry and the public.”