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Supreme Court sets aside Indoco’s request to lift injunction on launch of generic apixaban

Apex court dismisses Indoco’s petition to lift the stay on producing copycat versions of Bristol Myers Squibb’s bestselling anticoagulant medication

July 01, 2021 / 03:03 PM IST
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Indoco Remedies, which is trying to launch a generic version of Bristol Myers Squibb’s top-selling patented anticoagulant medication Eliquis (apixaban), received a setback when the Supreme Court set aside its request to lift the stay by the Delhi High Court on producing the copycat version.

“We are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgment and the order passed by the high court. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” the Supreme Court said in its order in May. Indoco had filed a special leave petition in the apex court seeking to lift the injunction on the launch of apixaban.

Bristol Myers obtained the injunction from the Delhi High Court in December 2019, restraining Indoco, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Cipla and Alkem Laboratories from launching generic versions of the drug, which it claims is patented till September 2022. The drug was granted a patent in 2011.

Bristol Myers and its partner Pfizer sell the drug that’s used in the prevention and treatment of blood clots under the brand Eliquis.

“… the manufacture and sale of any pharmaceutical preparations of apixaban by any other party, during the life of the said suit patent, without any licence from Bristol Myers would infringe the suit patent, resulting in irreparable loss to Bristol Myers,” the Delhi High Court said.

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Last year, Mumbai-based Indoco once again approached the Delhi High Court seeking permission to manufacture its version of apixaban during the COVID-2019 pandemic and allow it to sell about 58,000 strips of the generic drug lying with its stockists, distributors and retailers that had been manufactured in anticipation of the launch.

Indoco cited Natco Pharma, which was given relief in a similar injunction by the Delhi High Court. The court had set aside an injunction petition filed by Bristol Myers. Natco then launched its generic version in June 2019 and Bristol Myers filed its claims for patent infringement in the high court and secured an injunction on July 5, which was lifted on July 16. The case is now before the appellate board.

The Delhi High Court wasn’t convinced by the arguments of urgency and public interest and dismissed the petition.

Apixaban is the top-selling drug for Bristol Myers/Pfizer. Eliquis brought in $9.16 billion for Bristol Myers in 2020, accounting for over 21 percent of its total revenue, according to data on the company’s website.

Indoco and Bristol Myers couldn’t be reached for comments.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Jul 1, 2021 03:03 pm
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