Monday, 17 May 2010

South Korea - Why is drug patent protection being threatened in South Korea?

The South Korean legal courts have favoured domestic companies over multinational companies in recent patent cases, under the guidance of a government that is keen to promote branded generic production.

This year, several high profile court cases that have involved multinational pharmaceutical companies trying to protect their drug patents against domestic generic companies, have seen the decision go in favour of the latter.

In April 2010, the Korea Intellectual Property Tribunal invalidated Janssen's patent on Ultracet, claiming that the pain killer contained widely used materials. In March 2010, Pfizer lost its two year legal battle with six local pharmaceutical companies over the patent of Lipitor, its anti-cholesterol drug.

Further reading - A detailed analysis of the South Korean pharmaceutical market is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: South Korea (published May 2010)

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