Dr. Reddy’s Changes Color of Generic Nexium to Avoid Patent Dispute
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has adopted a unique strategy to bypass legal issues surrounding its generic version of Nexium: changing the color of its capsules.
The change comes after AstraZeneca won a restraining order in a lawsuit over Dr. Reddy’s use of the color purple for its generic version of the drug, which is used to treat acid reflux. The Indian drugmaker says that the esomeprazole magnesium delayed-release capsules — which it has rereleased — now will have a blue hue.
AstraZeneca began its challenge against Dr. Reddy’s generic Nexium in October, filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. It maintained that Dr. Reddy’s purple capsules violated three AstraZeneca patents. Much of AstraZeneca’s Nexium marketing campaign focuses on the capsule’s distinctive purple coloring, with the company even establishing www.purplepill.com as the website for the drug.
The court sided with AstraZeneca, filing a TRO against Dr. Reddy’s on Nov. 12 that barred it from selling, delivering or marketing its product in the U.S.
As a result of Dr. Reddy’s decision to change the capsule color, the court has removed the restraining order.
The lawsuit remains active, however, and AstraZeneca representatives did not respond to questions on whether the company would drop the suit in light of Dr. Reddy’s production change.
Representatives of Dr. Reddy’s could not be reached for comment by press time.