Supreme Court Stays HC Order Against Glenmark in Patent Case

Order of the Delhi High Court barring Indian pharmaceuticals major Glenmark from making, marketing anti-diabetes drugs Zita and Zita-Met was stayed by Supreme Court till 28 April 2015. Delhi High court had earlier restrained for allegedly infringing patent rights of US drug major Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD).

The Bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said that until April 28 there will be an interim stay on the high court order. Glenmark is defending their medicines Zita and Zita-Met which is meant for treatment of diabetes and Senior advocates Abhishekh Singhvi and Pratibha M Singh appeared for the company. Advocates T R Andhyrujina and Praveen Anand opposed the company’s plea stating that there was blatant violation of worldwide patent on MSD’s Januvia and Janumet. Bench issued notice to MSD and said the matter will be heard after 4 weeks. Ranjan Gogoi who headed the bench, issued notice to MSD while staying the HC’s interim order and agreed to hear the appeal filed by the Indian Company. The lawyers for Glenmark contended that lakhs of patients were taking Zita and Zita-met drugs on a daily basis and that such people will suffer if it was stopped due to the Court’s order.

The High Court had said, adding, “No allegation has been made that MSD today sells its drugs at a relatively high price that hinders access to the drug.” The High court had allowed Glenmark to sell the products which are in market already.

Glenmark was dragged to court by US based Merck’s subsidiary in India seeking to stop the sale of the more affordable version of diabetes drug in India. This US based subsidiary company had sought injunction against Glenmark marketing the generic version of their diabetes medicine. The prices of Glenmark for these diabetes medicine was 30% cheaper last year compared to Merck’s Januvia which helped many patients to save money up to Rs 5,000 a year.

by Sushma Javare.