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Viagra makers stiffen as ruling threatens patent

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Published: 9 Nov 2012

The little blue pill that has enhanced sex lives the world over could face some market competition if the Supreme Court of Canada decides this week that Pfizer Canada Inc.'s patent on the erectile-dysfunction drug Viagra is invalid. The top court will issue a judgment Thursday on a challenge to Pfizer's Canadian patent by generic drug company Teva Canada Limited. If Teva is successful, the company could put a generic version of Viagra on the Canadian market immediately. The ruling has the potential to "get the balance right" between innovators, the generic industry and the health system, and this could have major implications for Canada's patent system, said Richard Gold, a patent law expert and professor in the faculty of law at Montreal's McGill University. "Did Pfizer purposely mislead people so that they couldn't actually figure out what it is that they patented," Gold said, "and should they be allowed to?"

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