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Pharmaceuticals violate patent

Les Laboratoires Servier, a privately owned French drugmaker, sued Slovenian generic drug maker Krka d.d., accusing the company of patent infringement for the second time in a month. Servier claimed in a July 28 lawsuit filed in London that the processes Krka uses to produce its perindopril blood-pressure treatment violates Servier's patent, Krka said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. In June, Krka had said Servier tried to halt sales of the company's perindopril product in Slovenia with a patent-infringement suit against one of Krka's marketers. The latest claim is “completely unfounded,” Krka spokesman Peter Skubic said. “This is our own production process, it's 100% our own development, therefore we know we are not infringing any intellectual property of Servier.” Krka, based in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, will become eastern Europe's second-largest drugmaker if Croatia's Pliva d.d. is acquired later this year. Krka's strategy centers on marketing inexpensive copycat versions of brand-name drugs the day they come off patent. Servier owns a 50.9% stake in Krka's Hungarian rival, Egis Nyrt. The Neuilly-sur-Seine, France-based company didn't make any immediate comment. Krka stands to lose €500,000 ($638,150) this year should Servier win an injunction in Slovenia, Skubic said. Krka hasn't started selling perindopril products in the U.K. yet, but had planned to sell about £450,000 ($840,015) worth beginning next month, Skubic said. Servier markets perindopril as Coversyl. U.S. sales have been licensed to Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., which markets the drug as Aceon. (Bloomberg)