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A settlement has been reached between Pfizer and Astellas Pharma in Japan over blockbuster cholesterol drug atorvastatin (Lipitor), with Astellas Pharma wining the dispute and retaining the rights to market the treatment until July 2016.
A lawsuit was filed by Astellas in November 2006, after Pfizer affirmed that the Japanese firm’s licence only ran until 2001, when the substance patent expires in Japan. Astellas licensed atorvastatin from Warner-Lambert before it merged with Pfizer, and the product was launched on the Japanese market in 2000.
Although the settlement involved no payments, keeping hold of the world’s best-selling drug is good news for Astellas.