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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 09:57 GMT
China court in Viagra crackdown
Fake Viagra put on show by police in Beijing
The majority of Viagra pills sold in China are not made by Pfizer
A Chinese court has ordered two local firms to stop selling generic versions of the anti-impotence drug Viagra.

The court upheld the validity of Viagra-maker Pfizer's patent, ordering one firm to pay $38,000 (19,400) damages for trademark infringements.

In June, the same court in Beijing sided with Pfizer in overturning a decision by China's patent review board that favoured local drug-makers.

Despite the rulings, most drugs sold as Viagra in China are counterfeit.

But when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, China agreed to get tougher on violations of intellectual property rights.

An official at the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court confirmed the latest decision.

'Great brother'

The court ordered Beijing Health New Concept Pharmacy to stop selling blue pills resembling Viagra.

It told another company, Lianhuan Pharmaceutical Co, to stop making the pills and pay Pfizer 300,000 yuan in damages.

New York-based Pfizer recorded Viagra sales of $1.65bn (0.87bn) in 2005.

The Beijing court's ruling is the latest episode in a lengthy legal battle by the firm to establish its patent rights in China.

In 2004, China's patent review board sided with Chinese generic drug makers challenging Pfizer's exclusive right to make sildenafil citrate, the main active ingredient in Viagra.

Pfizer had appealed to China's State Intellectual Property Office (Sipo) over the 2004 decision by the patent review board permitting more than a dozen Chinese drug firms to use sildenafil citrate.

Viagra was introduced in China six years ago and after six months on the market, state media said 90% of the blue pills sold in Shanghai were fake.

Viagra is known locally as "weige" or "great brother" in Chinese.




SEE ALSO
Pfizer wins Chinese Viagra ruling
05 Jun 06 |  Business
China, US bust fake Viagra ring
09 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China overturns Viagra patent
08 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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