COURT SHOOTS DOWN GENERIC FOR LIPITOR
Hopes for the introductionof a genericversion of Pfizer's Lipitor(atorvastatin calcium)suffered a setbackas the SupremeCourt declined to intervenein RanbaxyLaboratories Ltd's challenge of a lower-courtdecision that upheld Pfizer's patent for theblockbuster cholesterol-lowering drug. TheUS patent for Lipitor is not due to expire untilMarch 2010, but Ranbaxy had sought to marketa generic version prior to that date. TheSupreme Court's action shuts the door onthat effort.
Ranbaxy's litigation was not entirely fruitless,however. The Supreme Court ruling alsolet stand previous action by a lower courtthat effectively whittled down Lipitor'spatent protection by 15 months. Pfizer is currentlyseeking a ruling from the US Patentand Trademark Office that would restoreLipitor's patent through June 2011.