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Canada breaks Cipro patent

October 18, 2001 7:00 AM UTC

The Canadian government has invoked emergency powers to purchase a generic version of Bayer's Cipro ciprofloxacin antibiotic for government bio-defense stockpiles, thus overriding the patent owned by Bayer (FSE:BAYG). Health Canada placed an order with generics company Apotex ( Weston, Ontario) for 900,000 doses of ciprofloxacin, Apotex spokesperson Elie Betito told BioCentury. Apotex's generic has received Canadian marketing approval, but the company has been prevented from marketing the drug because it has lost several legal challenges to Bayer's Canadian patent, which expires in 2004.

"Cipro is still under patent. This is a one-time purchase on an emergency basis, just for government use," Betito said. Apotex will manufacture the 900,000 capsules in two weeks, according to Betito. Apotex is selling ciprofloxacin at C$1.53 (US$0.98) per capsule, about half the cost of Cipro, said Betito. ...