Canadian Supreme Court challenges Pfizer’s Viagra monopoly

The pharmaceutical giant was stripped of its patent, leaving room for generic competition

Topics: Canada, Pharmaceuticals, Big Pharma, Pfizer, Viagra, Patent Law,

Canadian Supreme Court challenges Pfizer's Viagra monopoly The little blue pill (Credit: (Wikimedia))

On Thursday, Pfizer, inventors of Viagra, lost their patent to the erectile dysfunction drug in Canada. The Canadian Supreme Court justices unanimously decided to end the pharmaceutical giant’s monopoly over the drug, which — under patent law — should have a time limit.

“Pfizer gained a benefit from the (Patent) Act — exclusive monopoly rights — while withholding disclosure in spite of its disclosure obligations under the act,” Justice Louis LeBel wrote on behalf of the court, Reuters reported. “As a matter of policy and sound interpretation, patentees cannot be allowed to ‘game’ the system in this way.”

Pfizer’s “game,” according to the court, was in not providing enough details to identify the active ingredient in Viagra. “Pfizer had the information needed to disclose the useful compound and chose not to release it,” the ruling said.

Now stripped of its patent, Pfizer will face generic competition in Canada. The little blue pill is Pfizer’s sixth-biggest medicine, with annual sales of about $2 billion, Reuters reported, noting that the Canadian ruling is unlikely to significantly impact U.S. sales.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 1

    Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 2

    Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 3

    Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, U.S.


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 4

    Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

    Robert R.,

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 5

    Colosseum, Rome, Italy


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 6

    Taj Mahal, Agra, India

    Sergio Coelho,

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 7

    Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 8

    Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 9

    Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 10

    Lost City of Petra, Jordan

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>