Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Lasco, Medimpex win special damages against Pfizer

Published:Saturday | November 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Vincent Chen

A High Court judge has laid out a road map for lawyers representing American drug manufacturers Pfizer and two local companies - Medimpex Jamaica and Lasco Distributors - to resolve their multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

Justice Vivienne Harris also awarded special damages of US$77,075 or just over J$5.32 million, to Medimpex [using the 2007 exchange rate of $69.06 to 1] and $155,738 to Lasco Distributors.

The order was made in a 358-paragraph ruling handed down in the Supreme Court yesterday in the 12-year legal battle between the three entities.

"I am not surprised by what the judge has done. This was a very complex case, I have no difficulty with the award for special damages," attorney-at-law Vincent Chen, who represented Lasco, told The Gleaner yesterday.

The awards for special damages provide compensation to the two Jamaican entities for the disposal of their stocks after the Court of Appeal affirmed a ruling by the Supreme Court to lift an injunction that was obtained by Pfizer in 2005. The injunction, which remained in effect until 2012, barred Medimpex and Lasco from selling a generic form of the hypertension drug: Norvasc.

It was granted on the basis that Pfizer had a patent for the said product.

On the substantial matter of damages being sought by Lasco and Medimpex, the court directed all parties to agree on a figure and return to court with that decision on or before November 24.

Lasco has asked the court for an award of US$311 million, but Pfizer has countered with a figure of US$518,00. Medimpex is demanding US$11.5 million, but Pfizer is asking the court to set that figure at US$68,000.