India's highest court has granted an injunction against Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, blocking it from producing and marketing a generic of Merck's ($MRK) Januvia (sitagliptin) for treating diabetes. A patent-infringement suit was not affected by the decision.
Merck sued Glenmark for violating its India patents for Januvia and Janumet (with metformin), which Sun Pharmaceutical is marketing in the country. Glenmark was offering its generic at less than a third of Merck's Januvia price.
A two-judge bench of the court said that price difference was not startling enough to allow Glenmark to market it. Supplies of the drug under the names Zita and Zita-met already in the hands of retailers and distributors would be allowed to be sold under the judges' 81-page order.
The decision was on the injunction alone. A trial over the merits of the patent case is allowed to go forward, but Glenmark has not decided its next move, saying it was first seeking legal advice.