LASCO court ruling unfair
THE EDITOR, Sir:
For those of us who have been painstakingly following the Pfizer v LASCO and Medimpex debacle, last week's ruling must certainly come as quite the shock. For the most part, the presiding judge demonstrated a wealth of knowledge about the perplexities of the case, and it seemed that the judge was set to deliver a 'fair' ruling in favour of the local distributors. While her judgment was, in fact, in favour of the local companies, the settlement given to each is where our opinions defer.
Let's backtrack a bit. The issue runs back over a decade when, in January 2002, Pfizer produced patent letters in the local Supreme Court thereby barring LASCO from marketing its generic version of hypertension drug Norvasc. This was later revealed to be a baseless submission, as the patent had, in fact, expired before.
Fast-forward a few years: LASCO made legal submissions and requested compensation of US$490 million, or J$60 billion for disposal of stock, interest and whatever other inconvenience that Pfizer caused.
The award handed down by the Supreme Court is much too small, and, I dare say, unreasonable. The chief justice, in response to the company's claim, declared $273,278,243 as the total
settlement for LASCO pharmaceuticals. How can we rightfully move from a calculation of US$490m, provided by LASCO's experts, to J$273m?
The judge accepted Pfizer's method of calculations, which I presume would be woefully understated for obvious reasons.
My disappointment with the ruling by Justice Vivene Harris goes much further than wanting to see a larger settlement for LASCO. It has somewhat reduced the confidence I have in the justice system. Is it that larger companies will always be right even when they are found to be wrong? The sum of J$273m is a drop in the bucket for a multibillion-dollar company like Pfizer.