AstraZeneca today announced that the Swedish Court of Patent Appeal has ruled that one of the company's Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC) in Sweden for omeprazole, the active ingredient in Losec®, has not expired. The SPC expires in February, 2003. The outcome reverses a decision from February 2000 by the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) that the SPC, granted under Swedish law, had lapsed due to the surrender of the marketing authorisation for Losec® capsules. In 2000 Losec MUPS® sales in Sweden represented just over 1 per cent of the total sales of the product. The substance patent for omeprazole in Sweden expired in April 1999. Following the decision by PRV to invalidate the omeprazole SPC, the generic manufacturer Scand Pharm launched a generic product in Sweden. AstraZeneca filed a request for a preliminary injunction against Scand Pharm for infringement of AstraZeneca's other Swedish SPC relating to omeprazole. This SPC was granted under the EU regulation. The injunction was granted, and later confirmed by the Stockholm District Court after the main hearing in October 2000. Scand Pharm's product is therefore prohibited from sale pending the final outcome of the case. AstraZeneca has also filed a main action for infringement of the omeprazole formulation patent.

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