Oslo - Indian drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. is confident that a Norwegian court will rule in its favor over an appeal concerning a patent for Pfizer's best-selling cholesterol-lowering treatment Lipitor.
In mid-November a district court in Oslo ruled in Pfizer's favor over an intermediate patent covering a compound used to make atorvastatin, the active ingredient of Lipitor. Ranbaxy anounced then that it would appeal the decision. The patent expires in 2009.
Annual Lipitor sales in Norway reach about $50 million. If the Norway appeal goes in Ranbaxy's favor, the company expects to launch there in 2006 or 2007. Should the appeal fail, the launch is expected for 2009. Earlier this year a Finish court already has ruled in Ranbaxy's favor on similar intermediate patents.