AIDS Healthcare Foundation Files Request for Preliminary Injunction Against Antiretroviral Drug Producer GlaxoSmithKline
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest nongovernmental provider of AIDS care in the United States, yesterday said it had filed a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. branch of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, Reuters Health reports. If granted, the preliminary injunction would prevent GSK from defending its patent on Retrovir, which is also known as AZT, until the pending antitrust lawsuit is heard. The request is the latest move in the suit, which AHF originally filed in July to invalidate GSK's patent on AZT. The suit was later amended to ask that the patents on Trizivir and Combivir, two antiretroviral combination drugs of which AZT is a main ingredient, also be invalidated (Macron, Reuters Health, 12/19). AHF alleges that GSK did not invent AZT and did not conduct research into the drug's effectiveness against HIV infection, and therefore "lied" to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it sought a patent on AZT, a key ingredient in the combination antiretroviral drugs Trizivir and Combivir (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/15). A spokesperson for GSK said that AHF's suit was "frivolous," according to Reuters Health. She added that Burroughs Wellcome's -- GSK's predecessor -- "inventorship" of AZT for the treatment of HIV was successfully defended in several lawsuits in the 1990s (Reuters Health, 12/19). Earlier this month, in a similar case, Canada's Supreme Court upheld GSK's patent on AZT, disallowing generic competition and forcing two generic companies to reimburse Glaxo for the money it lost while they produced generic versions of the drug (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/9). Arguments for the motion for the preliminary injunction are scheduled to be heard on March 10, 2003. A date for the trial has not yet been set (Reuters Health, 12/19).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.