Class Claims Pfizer Stiffed Them for Viagra


     VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Pfizer illegally gamed the Canadian patent system to monopolize the market for Viagra and overcharge customers, a class action claims in British Columbia Supreme Court.
     Lead plaintiff Britton Low claims that the Supreme Court of Canada invalidated Pfizer's patent on Viagra in November, citing shoddy Patent Act disclosures, after a legal dispute with generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals.
     Teva wanted to bring a generic version of Viagra (sildenafil) to the Canadian market, but could not while the case wound its way through Federal Court and eventually up to the Canadian Supreme Court.
     Days after that ruling, Pfizer reduced the price of Viagra to the price for the generic version, Low claims.
     He claims that Pfizer tailored its original patent application to be ambiguous, though it knew that sildenafil was the effective ingredient. The application "failed to clearly set out what the invention was," according to the complaint.
     Low claims Pfizer improperly disclosed its invention of sildenafil to monopolize its production and prevent a generic version from entering the market during the class period between 2006 and 2012.
     "As a result of its unlawfully obtained monopoly over sildenafil, Pfizer was able to overcharge the plaintiff and the other class members for Viagra as compared to the price Pfizer could have charged for Viagra in the presence of generic competition," the complaint states. "The difference between the revenue Pfizer would have collected by charging the actual price for Viagra and the revenue which Pfizer would have collected at the price prevailing in the presence of generic competition (the 'Viagra overcharge') represents Pfizer's ill-gotten gains."
     Low is represented by Reider M. Mogerman, with Camp, Fiorante, Matthews, Mogerman in Vancouver.