Glenmark move to clear sitagliptin stocks denied by India's top court

Glenmark Managing Director Glenn Saldanha

India's Glenmark Pharmaceuticals lost a bid before the country's top court to clear existing stocks of sitagliptin as it awaits a ruling over whether it can sell copies of Januvia and Janumet, Merck's ($MRK) innovative version of the Type 2 diabetes drug.

The Financial Express newspaper said India's Supreme Court made the ruling this week on the API used in Glenmark products known as Zita and Zita-Met. No figures were cited on stocks of sitagliptin, and a Glenmark spokesman declined to comment to FiercePharmaAsia.

In May, the Supreme Court called a temporary halt to Glenmark's production of generics of the Merck drugs but allowed continued sales of the local drugmaker's inventory of Zita and Zita-Met through October or November.

Two judges on the court this month, however, said with the case near a ruling on whether the Glenmark copies can be sold in India it was not appropriate to allow the use of the sitagliptin stocks, the Financial Express said.

Merck slapped the Indian generics maker with a patent suit two years ago after Glenmark said the company would sell Zita and Zita-Met at a 20% discount to Merck's drugs.

The case is being watched closely by India drugmakers and multinational pharmas on broader concerns over patent protection.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has been marketing the innovative version of the Merck drugs in India since 2008. Glenmark launched its generics two years ago, prompting Merck's suit.

In July, Glenmark launched Type 2 diabetes drug teneligliptin, patented by Japan's Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma globally except in India, that it says will cost as much as 55% less than competitors.

Glenmark manufactures the drug in India as a generic and sells it under the Ziten and Zita Plus brands.

- here's the story from the Financial Express