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AstraZeneca has announced it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against seven rival firms over its cholesterol treatment Crestor (rosuvastatin).
It said the companies are seeking permission to make and market generic versions of the statin.
The lawsuits were filed in a US District Court in Delaware against Cobalt of Milwaukee, Aurobindo Pharma USA of New Jersey, Canada’s Apotex, Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Germany’s Sandoz International, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and Sun Pharmaceutical Corp.
The firms have all submitted Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) to the Food and Drug Administration in the US.
Crestor was AstraZeneca’s third best-selling drug last year with sales of $2bn.
It can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol in some patients, as well as prevent atherosclerosis.
The drug is currently competing with generic versions of Merck’s cholesterol medication Zocor (simvastatin), which lost its patent protection last year.
AstraZeneca is one of several large pharmaceutical corporations which are struggling with expirations of important drug patents.
Competitors have subsequently moved into its markets with cheaper generic versions, a problem compounded by the fact it has also lost some drugs which were in late-stage testing.
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