News in Brief
India's Alkem Laboratories is introducing a new antibiotic branded Megapime into its home market. It has been approved as a stand-alone drug that can be administered, without waiting for an exact diagnosis, to seriously ill patients suffering from fever who have a low white cell count. It is a fourth generation cephalosporin active against a broader spectrum of bacteria than third generation drugs.
Aventis and Florida-based Andrx, both accused of conspiring to keep a generic blood pressure medication off the market, have agreed to pay a US$80m settlement. Beginning in July 1998, Hoechst, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Aventis in 2000, paid Andrx about US$90m not to market a generic version of Cardizem CD for a year, according to the suit. The delay of a cheaper generic drug meant that consumers, medical insurance companies and the US government were forced to purchase the higher-priced version, it adds. The companies deny any wrongdoing.
Pfizer's Egyptian subsidiary is suing state-owned Egyptian International Pharmaceuticals Industries Company (EIPICO) for an alleged patent infringement. It claims that the generic manufacturer's cholesterol drug Ator is an illegal copy of Pfizer's Lipitor. Ator received marketing authorisation in 2000, a year after Lipitor's introduction in Egypt. Pfizer is seeking about US$1m (Euro 0.93m) in damages and the banning of Ator from the market.