Pharmaceutical company Pfizer's Chilean subsidiary has agreed behavioural remedies as part of a settlement with Chile's National Economic Prosecutor, which alleged the company used existing patents to block or delay rivals from entering the market for an anti-inflammatory drug. The settlement comes five months after the FNE found that Pfizer subsidiary GD Searle used a fraudulently obtained patent to block generic competition to Celecoxib, a patented drug which is used to treat chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. At the time, the Chilean enforcer said the company may have attempted to extend its Celexocib rights beyond the original limits of its patent.
GD Searle has agreed to grant royalty-free licences to any current or potential competitor within Chile for the development, commercialisation, distribution or use of Celexocib. The settlement marks the end of the FNE's first case involving intellectual property and antitrust in the pharmaceutical sector.
In June 2016, the FNE accused the pharmaceutical company of making non-clinical changes to the composition of the drug and applying for a second patent, effectively extending its exclusive rights to the drug until 2029. The Chilean enforcer found that the second patent was intended to hinder generic rivals' entry to the relevant market, and that it held no innovations that could benefit patients.
The enforcer also found GD Searle sent 14 letters to its rivals warning that they may have infringed the second patent, and that a senior executive had called several laboratories' general managers urging them to settle to avoid infringement lawsuits.
As an additional part of the settlement, GD Searle will withdraw a lawsuit accusing competitor Synthon of market dominance and patent infringement, which began after the latter refused to settle after one of the phone calls.
In a statement, the competition court said the remedies will bolster competition by taking away the risk of litigation or revoked licences for new market...