Celebrex ruling could cost Pfizer billions

A US court has overturned a patent on Pfizer’s top-selling pain drug Celebrex, a surprise ruling which could cost the firm billions in lost revenue.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted summary judgment invalidating the reissue patent covering methods of treating osteoarthritis and other approved conditions with Celebrex (celecoxib)

Celebrex currently has global revenues of $3 billion a year, with $2 billion of this earned in the US. This makes the drug a significant source of revenue for the firm, which is still rebuilding following the patent expiry of its flagship blockbuster Lipitor in 2011.

The court ruling could see the generic firms strip away as much as $1 billion in sales this year, with even more lost in 2015, say analysts.

Pfizer had assumed Celebrex would maintain its US marketing exclusivity up to December 2015 because of the ‘method of use’ patent.

The firm says it will fight the ruling, starting with an immediate appeal of the court’s decision.


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