3 pharmaceutical firms in US patent soup

United States-based drug major Forest Laboratories has sued three Indian pharmaceutical companies -- Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, Lupin and Wockhardt -- along with four other manufacturers for coming up with imitations of patented drugs in the US.

Forest, along with Germany's Merz Pharma, has filed lawsuits in Delaware's District Court against the companies for infringing its US patent number 5061703 on Namenda (memantine), a drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's.

The suit is in response to the abbreviated new drug applications filed by these companies with the US Food and Drug Administration.

The suit is filed on the basis of 'Paragraph IV certifications' which gives the patent holder the right to protect itself against imitations, Forest said in a release issued today.

The suit will restrict the USFDA from approving the marketing applications for 30 months. Namenda was formulated by Merz Pharma and was licensed to Forest in 2001.

The drug is one of the major revenue earners for Forest with sales of $192.9 million in the third-quarter of 2007 alone.

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