Pfizer Loses Court Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court rejects its request to keep other companies from selling generic Norvasc.
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by


(PFE) - Get Report

to block other companies from selling cheap copies of Norvasc, which produced sales of $4.9 billion last year.

Justice John Paul Stevens' decision to turn down Pfizer's emergency appeal means

Mylan Laboratories

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and Canada's


can keep selling generic versions of the blood-pressure drug that is Pfizer's second-biggest product.

Pfizer can ask another justice to halt the sales.

Mylan began selling its drug on March 23, and Apotex entered the market on May 24. Pfizer is selling a low-price version, too, as well as brand-name Norvasc.

Pfizer had been counting on Norvasc remaining free from generic competition in the U.S. until September, but several

legal defeats invalidated Pfizer's patent and prompted the generic-drug makers to launch their versions.

The generics' impact on Norvasc

has been dramatic. By May 25, Mylan's generic accounted for about 58% of total prescriptions, Pfizer's generic had 30%, and brand-name Norvasc had the rest, according to research by A.G. Edwards and IMS Health.