Pfizer Loses U.K. Patent Appeal Over $4.8 Billion Lyrica Drug

Pfizer Inc. lost an appeal in a U.K. patent dispute over Lyrica, one of the company’s top-selling drugs.

Three London judges upheld a 2015 ruling that Allergan Plc’s Actavis unit didn’t infringe Pfizer patents with its version of the drug pregabalin. The disputed patent covers the use of pregabalin for the treatment of pain. Teva bought the business this year.

Lyrica, also used to treat epilepsy, generated sales of $4.8 billion for Pfizer in 2015. Pfizer has also sued Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. over their generic pregabalin products.

“We maintain our belief in the validity and importance” of the patent, said Pfizer spokeswoman Katie Banks. She said the company is hoping to take its appeal to the U.K. Supreme Court.

“The judgment offers a pragmatic way forward in seeking to strike a fair balance between the patentee’s right to a return for its investment in innovation and the generic manufacturer’s right to sell into the non-patented market,” said Tim Powell, a lawyer representing Actavis.

At the first hearing of the lawsuit, Judge Richard Arnold criticized Pfizer for making “groundless threats” of legal action against British doctors and drugstores if they attempted to sell generic products offered by competitors.

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