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AHF Law Suit Against GSK: GSK summary judegement request denied by judge
  "GSK Loses Another Key Round in AIDS Healthcare Foundation's AZTPatent Piracy Case: Judge Rules in Favor of AIDS HealthcareFoundation on Summary Judgment Motion by GSK in Federal LawsuitAgainst British Drug Giant"
SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
PRNewswire - May 3, 2004
LOS ANGELES, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Late last week, the UnitedStates District Court (United States Federal Court for CentralDistrict of California Western Division, Case No. CV-03-02792 TJHex) rejected GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) motion for summary judgmentagainst AIDS Healthcare Foundation's (AHF) patent piracy lawsuitagainst the British drug giant over GSK's patent for AZT(Retrovir), the first AIDS drug. The ruling sustains AHF'sfederal court case over the patent for AZT and other subsequentderivative AIDS drugs.
"GlaxoSmithKline officials have repeatedly called our AZT patentpiracy lawsuit 'frivolous' and 'without merit,'" said MichaelWeinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Last week'sruling clearly says otherwise. We look forward to moving aheadwith our legal challenge to GSK's stranglehold on the patent forAZT -- a drug it neither invented nor showed its efficacy againstHIV -- and the patents for GSK's other derivative AIDS drugs."
"The denial of GSK's summary judgment motion means that GSK hasnow lost its last chance to avoid having this case go before ajury of its peers," said Ron Katz, lead attorney for ManattPhelps & Phillips, which represents AIDS Healthcare Foundation inthe action. "On behalf our client, AIDS Healthcare Foundation,and people living with AIDS everywhere, I am happy to have beenable to secure our client's day in court."
The AZT patent case was initially filed by AIDS HealthcareFoundation in United States District Court (United States FederalCourt for Central District of California Western Division, CaseNo. 02-5223 TJH Ex) in July 2002, and amended in October 2002.That case was dismissed "without prejudice," by Judge TerryHatter in March 2003, which allowed the nation's largest AIDSorganization to amend and re-file its action against GSK. AHFre-filed the action in late spring 2003; GSK then moved to haveAIDS Healthcare Foundation's case dismissed. Last July, the courtsoundly rejected GSK's motion to dismiss the case outright rulingthat sixteen of seventeen causes of action in AHF's federal courtcase over the patent for AZT and other subsequent derivative AIDSdrugs should remain.
The anti-trust lawsuit was initially filed on July 1st 2002 inthe United States Federal Court for Central District ofCalifornia (Western Division, Case No. 02-5223 TJH Ex). AIDSHealthcare Foundation -- represented by the law firm of ManattPhelps & Phillips -- challenged the pharmaceutical giant's rightto exclude competition in the markets for its anti-viralprescription drugs AZT, which was first created with NIH fundingin 1964 as a possible cancer drug, Ziagen and 3TC and to pricethese drugs well above competitive rates. GlaxoSmithKlinecontrols 40% of the lucrative U.S. AIDS drug market.
Glaxo's current worldwide market for its AIDS medications isestimated to be approximately $2 billion dollars annually.Combivir and Trizivir, Glaxo's best selling AIDS drugs today, arereformulations of existing AIDS drugs that offer patients theconvenience of two-in-one and three-in-one pill dosing.
AHF -- a non-profit that provides medical services to over 12,000with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., Africa and Honduras -- sued fordamages created by such artificially high prices. "It's patentpiracy that has cost untold numbers their lives and is denyingtreatment to millions today," said Weinstein, "all in the name ofcorporate greed. How many more lives could we have saved if Glaxohad not gouged the government and AHF for almost 15 years now?"
AHF's lawsuit also describes a pattern of such abuse by GSK inmarketing AIDS drugs. AHF charges that Glaxo's abacavir (Ziagen)and 3TC (lamivudine) are manufactured and sold pursuant toexclusive licenses from the University of Minnesota and EmoryUniversity. Despite the fact that the drugs were developed withU.S. tax dollars, GSK is doing all that it can to gouge thepublic and price the drugs out of reach.
AHF claims damages as a major purchaser of these medications forits uninsured patients. "Enron's fraud cost jobs and savings,"said Weinstein. "GSK's fraud has cost AIDS patients their lives,and has cost the federal and state governments billions ofdollars in ill-gotten gain."
Manatt attorneys Ronald S. Katz, Robert D. Becker, J. BruceMcCubbrey, Andrew H. Struve and Noel S. Cohen represent AHF inthis action.
For further information, contact Tom Myers, AHF General Counsel323.860.5259, Michael Weinstein, AHF President, (323) 860-5300 orGed Kenslea, AHF Communications Director, 323.860.5225.
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