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Pfizer loses Supreme Court battle over pregabalin patent


By Elisabeth Mahase

15 Nov 2018

The Supreme Court has reject Pfizer’s pregabalin patent for treating certain types of pain.

The judgement, handed down yesterday (14 November), dismissed Pfizer’s final attempt to uphold its patent, and accused the company of trying to hold a ‘monopoly’ with ‘insufficient’ evidence.

Speaking at the Supreme Court, Lord Sumption read the judgement, and explained that the patent was deemed invalid due to a lack of evidence for the conditions it covered – central and peripheral neuropathic pain.

A Pfizer spokesperson said: ‘As situations such as these are expected to become more common, it’s important for patients that pharmaceutical companies are able to protect patents, including second medical use patents.

‘This is why Pfizer is disappointed with the decision issued by the Supreme Court in London regarding the second medical use patent covering Lyrica (pregabalin) for pain.’

Lord Sumption said: ‘Although the patent specification showed sufficiently why pregabalin could be expected to work with peripheral neuropathic pain, it didn’t show any scientific reason why it would be expected to work for central neuropathic pain. Since the patent covered both, the disclosure was therefore insufficient.’

‘The Supreme Court unanimously agrees that the patent claimed a monopoly on all neuropathic pain,’ he continued.

Lord Sumption concluded: ‘Since Warner-Lambert (Pfizer) do not challenge the finding that the specification made insufficient disclosure as regard to central neuropathic pain, it follows that the patent was invalid for sufficiency of disclosure. The specification was insufficient. On that ground we dismiss Warner-Lambert’s (Pfizer’s) appeal.’

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told our sister publication Pulse: ‘We will carefully consider the judgment and its impact, including the possibility to seek damages.’

A version of this article first appeared on our sister publication Pulse


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