Pfizer Limited to pay millions to Lasco and Medimpex
International drug company Pfizer Limited, is to pay millions of dollars in damages and legal costs to Lasco Distributors Limited and Medimpex Jamaica Limited, following a court of appeal ruling this morning.
The companies have been engaged in a legal battle since 2002, over the distribution of patented medication, amlodipine.
The drug is used to treat high blood pressure.
Pfizer took the companies to court contending that one of the ingredients in the drug that the local companies were distributing contains ingredients from Pfizer’s patent.
The Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the local companies based on their defence that when Pfizer came to Jamaica for a letter of patent, the substance had expired in Egypt in March 1997.
It was also established that under the patent act in Jamaica once a substance expires in another country then the patent would not be valid in Jamaica.
Pfizer had obtained an injunction against the companies in 2005 barring them from distributing their drugs but had given an undertaking that if Pfizer lost its legal battle it would pay damages to the company.
Pfizer appealed the Supreme Court ruling and lost today.
The court ordered that an enquiry must be held to determine damages owing to the two companies.
The court also called on the government to amend the patent act to prevent any further occurrence.