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Bayer sues Canadian hospital for Cipro patent infringement

German pharmaceutical company Bayer has sued a hospital in Ontario, Canada, for patent infringement, accusing it of copying the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin) by diluting a generic version.

German pharmaceutical company Bayer has sued a hospital in Ontario, Canada, for patent infringement, accusing it of copying the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin) by diluting a generic version.

Bayer filed the lawsuit last week against the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to block the hospital from producing and selling a diluted version of intravenous ciprofloxacin, refund any profits made from sales and pay damages.

Bayer insists that the legal action as necessary to protect the drug into which it cost it many hundreds of millions of dollars to research and deveop.

The company has already tried to get an injunction against Sandoz Canada, which makes the much-cheaper generic product used by the hospital. Sandoz received Health Canada approval in 2006 to market a concentrated, generic version for dilution, resulting in Bayer instituting legal action.

In April 2007, the Canadian Federal Court denied Bayer's request for a temporary injunction halting sales of the Sandoz cipro until the case comes to trial.

A spokesperson for Bayer said the the company had always vigorously defended its intellectual property and would continue to do so.

Ciprofloxacin is prescribed to treat urinary-tract and kidney infections and has also been used in anthrax infection. The patent for Cipro expired in 2004, but the intravenous formulation has patent protection until March 2008.

In FY06, Bayer's Cipro sales were USD 24m, according to IMS data.

2nd September 2008

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