No 'purple pill' for Dr. Reddy's—court sides with AZ, blocks Nexium generic over coloration
- A federal district court in Delaware has sided with AstraZeneca and temporarily blocked the introduction of a Nexium generic from Dr. Reddy's into the U.S. over the medication's purple coloration.
- AstraZeneca has worked hard to maintain Nexium's brand as "the purple pill," and warned generic manufacturers not to mimic the color, which the company considers trademark infringement.
- Dr. Reddy's is complying with the temporary restraining order, and the court has asked the companies to resolve the coloration matter.
Dr. Reddy's isn't the only company with a purple Nexium generic. Camber Pharmaceuticals also has one and is facing a similar patent infringement suit from AstraZeneca. And as the Wall Street Journal notes, AZ hasn't always barred companies from using a purple color. For instance, an authorized OTC version of Nexium from Pfizer is purple and has AstraZeneca's blessing.
This case goes to show that companies take their trademarks very seriously, especially when it's a brand that's been built meticulously over the years for a flagship product that brings in $3 billion per year in sales.
The question for Dr. Reddy's now is: What color will the company go with? And how quickly can it manufacture new inventory to get its generic out into the U.S. market? Regardless, it seems clear that the Indian generic drug maker will take a short-term hit to its sales thanks to this decision.