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Spanish court upholds Pfizer patent


A court in Spain has upheld a patent on the cholesterol-busting drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium).

Manufacturer Pfizer said the Court of Appeal of Barcelona has ruled in favour of its enantiomer patent covering the treatment.

The decision reverses a ruling by a lower court.

The calcium salt patent expires in July 2010, but it was challenged bygeneric company Lek Pharmaceuticals, and is one of four separatebattles over the drug by generic firms in Spain.

Lipitor is sold in Spain under the brand names Zarator and Cardyl.

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It can lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and also reduces the risk ofheart attack and stroke in patients with multiple risk factors such asfamily history and high blood pressure.

Pfizer general counsel Allen Waxman said: “This is a victory not onlyfor Pfizer, but for all innovators pursuing high-risk medicaldiscoveries and for the patients who benefit from those discoveries.”

Lek can seek to appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court of Spain.

The successful defence of the legal action is a boost for Pfizer afterit announced last month that it is closing its manufacturing operationsin Kent, England, with the loss of more than 400 jobs.

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