The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Sunday, 23 November 2003


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the world's second largest drugs group, has lost its action to prevent Swiss company Novartis making and selling cheap generic versions of Augmentin, GSK's leading antibiotic. GSK’s proceedings were aimed both against Novartis and its generic company, Geneva Pharmaceuticals. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favour of Novartis and Geneva late on Friday, upholding Geneva's claim that seven of GSK's patents for the drug were "improper and should not have been used to extend patent protection for [GSK's] product".

Novartis and Geneva surprised the market in 2002 when it launched a generic version of Augmentin. The launch came after an unexpected US legal decision in May 2002 that a number of GSK's patents for Augmentin were invalid. GSK spent over a year fighting the decision but the original ruling has now been upheld, ending the legal dispute between the companies. In 2001 Augmentin had US sales of almost $1bn. In the first quarter of 2003, sales were $83m, down 64 per cent against the same period last year. A spokesman for GSK said the company remains committed to its newer Augmentin antibiotic medicines - Augmentin ES and XR - which now account for nearly 35 per cent of the total number of prescriptions for branded and generic Augmentin.

The IPKat commiserates with GSK’s shareholders on the likely diminution of the value of their share holdings in the light of this decision, but he reminds them that we live in a world of swings and roundabous - this decision should at least help to reduce their medical bills.

More on antibiotics here, here and here

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