We previously reported on Apotex's lawsuit against the FDA concerning generic Zofran (ondansetron HCl) tablets. Apotex sought an injunction directing the FDA to approve Apotex's ANDA for generic Zofran tablets when GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE:GSK) pediatric exclusivity on Zofran expired on December 24, 2006. Although Dr. Reddy's (NYSE:RDY) was the first to file an ANDA for generic Zofran tablets, Apotex argued that a May 2005 district court dismissal of GSK's lawsuit against Apotex triggered Dr. Reddy's 180-day exclusivity period, which then ran to completion in December 2005.
On December 7, 2006, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied Apotex's motion for a preliminary injunction against the FDA, prompting Apotex to file an emergency motion to stay the district court's order pending appeal. On December 22, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Apotex's motion. That cleared the way for FDA to grant final approval for ondansetron HCl tablets to Dr. Reddy's, which it did on December 27. The same day, Dr. Reddy's announced that it would "commence the shipment of this product shortly."
Zofran, which is indicated for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, is available in several different dosage forms and strengths. Besides granting final approval to Dr. Reddy's, the FDA announced in November that it granted final approval to Teva (NASDAQ:TEVA) and SICOR for generic Zofran Injection and Zofran Injection Premixed. Additionally, the FDA announced in December that it granted final approval to Kali Laboratories' ANDA for generic Zofran ODT (ondansetron orally disintegrating tablets) and to Roxane Laboratories' ANDA for generic Zofran Oral Solution. The various forms of Zofran accounted for well over $1 billion in sales last year for GSK.
Meanwhile, it appears that Apotex's lawsuit against the FDA is moving forward. On January 18, the FDA and Dr. Reddy's answered Apotex's complaint. Today, the court set a March date for the initial scheduling conference. With Dr. Reddy's already on the market as the sole generic supplier of ondansetron HCl tablets, it is unclear what Apotex has to gain by pursuing the case.
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