The Supreme Court of Canada has recently invalidated different pharma patents according to ‘the promise doctrine’. Eli Lilly & Co, the macro company, is one of the business affected by these decisions, since it has lost some patent cases against Evista, osteoporosis medicacions, which favoured producers of generic drug, from the point of view of the company Eli Lilly.
Thus, Eli Lilly decided to appeal this Supreme Court ruling for arbitration under the North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA) last December, claiming for $100 million of lost-profits after the Court rejected its Canadian patent in 2011 for the drug Strattera, based on the “promise doctrine,” under which the Eli Lilly’s patent lacked of the utility requirement.
Dr. Lechleiter took his point on issue as an expert on patent Law, and said that “it is unfair that Canadian judges override drug patents due to not including sufficient testing results in the original applications, filed years ago”. Furthermore, Lechleiter maintains that judges are demanding much more evidence that the proposed drugs will work than it is required in other developed countries, what infringes various international treaties, including NAFTA.
On the contrary, Jim Keon, the president of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, said that, concerning IP matters, brand-name pharmaceutical companies receive a stronger protection in Canada than in other countries, thus he rejected Dr. Lechleiter’s assertion. Lastly, arbitration, which may only assist the parties in monetary matters, has the final say.
Written by Antonio Torres
Image: epSos.de under creative commons license-BY