Zantac Litigation

The plaintiffs, Glaxo Group Limited and Glaxo Wellcome Inc. (“Glaxo”), hold the new Canadian patent on a crystalline form of the medicine ranitidine hydrochloride, which is contained in Glaxo’s brand name product, Zantac. Glaxo’s sales of ranitidine in Canada, estimated to be worth upwards of $600M, are a lucrative profit centre for the pharmaceutical giant. The defendants, Apotex Inc. et al. (“Apotex”), who currently hold a licence from and do pay royalties to Glaxo, under an initial ranitidine hydrochloride patent, primarily assert that they have committed no actionable patent infringement. Alternatively, Apotex asserts that the new Glaxo patent at issue is invalid as it does not disclose any inventive contribution over the earlier Glaxo patent. This patent infringement action is now proceeding to trial in the Federal Court. Lead counsel to Glaxo is Peter Wilcox of Smart & Biggar (Toronto). Lead counsel Apotex is Harry Radomski of Goodman Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto).