Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) Asking Doctors in UK to Stop Prescribing Generic Lyrica


Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) has been persuading doctors in UK not to prescribe Generic Lyrica for treating pain and to support the company’s stance regarding a court ruling in UK which also declared recently that the physicians should refrain from prescribing the drug for the treatment of pain. The court’s decision came as a result of an ongoing conflict concerning the patent of the medicine.

The conflict was initiated last year in July when a patent was lost by Lyrica regarding the treatment of epilepsy and generalised anxiety problems. However, Lyrica can still do treatment for pains and the patent for that is valid through the year 2017. The expiration of the patent regarding the two above mentioned conditions has given an indication to the drug makers who are concerned with the making of the generic versions of the medicine.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has been busy dealing with the legal challenges which emerge due to these generic versions which are speculated to reduce the sales of the original medicine by offering their cheaper prices. A trial is due in June 2015 which will be addressing one similar challenge.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) came up with a letter last year which was not addressed to any of the doctors nor was it addressed to the pharmacies; the letter was meant for the Clinical Commission Group (CCGs) and was meant to be a warning for them to stop prescription of generic Lyrica for the treatment of pain.

CCGs are organizations in the UK which are administered by the UK based National Health Service. These organizations comprise of local doctors who have various responsibilities and amongst those responsibilities is the decision of prescribing drugs to the patients.

Although Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) issued the letter, it was not mentioned in the letter as to how the company plans on enforcing the warning or what action the company will take if the doctors do not abide by the warning. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), while discussing the patent matter with the NHS as well as the Department of Health said that the move was not a clinical matter but was more of a legal matter.

The company further explained its apprehensions and said that the doctors might just prescribe the generic version of the drug for pain treatment. On the other hand, the Department of Health recommended that the company should get in touch with the CCGs instead.

Many doctors were not thrilled about the warnings which were forwarded by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). An organization called The Royal College of Physicians which represents around 20,000 doctors declared that Lyrica has been an effective drug and has benefited a lot of patients. The organization said that the warning issued by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will just deprive the patients from getting access to an effective drug.

However, a British High Court judge Richard Arnold who had been handling the patent ruled the NHS against supporting the usage of Lyrica and also asked the organization to communicate with the doctors.

A statement was released by NHS which indicated that the agency just wants the practitioners to be aware of the guidelines set by CCGs prior to prescribing the drugs for pain treatments. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) made it clear that the company has no intention of taking any legal action against any organization or individual regarding this matter.

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