Pfizer loses major Lyrica patent case in UK, leaving door for generics wide open
- Pfizer has been in U.K. courts attempting to protect Lyrica from being sold by generics manufacturers until 2017.
- Pfizer's patents for the generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and epilepsy indications have expired, but the pain indication is protected until 2017.
- Pfizer's secondary patent on pain was found mostly invalid by Justice Richard David Arnold, who ruled that the patent only covers certain types of pain and was not being infringed upon by generic Lyrica makers like Mylan and Allergan.
Pfizer has been waging a heated battle in its efforts to protect Lyrica from patent infringement. The major point of contention, according to Pfizer, is that many physicians are prescribing the active ingredient of Lyrica—pregabalin.
Now, because of this ruling (which is considered by many an important milestone in this case), generic manufacturers including Actavis/Allergan and Mylan can continue to manufacture copycat versions of Lyrica.
Pfizer continues to maintain its position, however, and even took the unorthodox step of sending a letter to physicians in the U.K. warning them that if they prscribe pregabalin for pain, they are infringing Pfizer's patent. Clearly, this case is not entirely over, though for now, it's business as usual in terms of pregabalin prescribing in the U.K.
Pfizer will appeal the ruling.