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Chinese firms to make their own Viagra variant
Updated: 2004-08-07 09:25

Chinese pharmaceutical makers are planning to jointly produce a local variant of Viagra after Pfizer of the United States lost its patent protection in China for the popular drug, state media said.

The Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday that 17 pharmaceutical companies, headed by Tonghua Hongtaomao Pharmaceutical in north-eastern China, are hoping to set up a joint-stock company to make an erectile dysfunction drug that would cost only half the price of Viagra.

The report, which quoted the China Business Times, said the Chinese product would cost 40-50 yuan (S$8.30-S$10.40) per tablet, compared to the current 99 yuan price for the Pfizer product.

Last month, China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) revoked Pfizer's China patent for Viagra in response to complaints filed by more than 10 Chinese companies that the US company was in breach of China's intellectual property laws by failing to accurately explain the drug's key ingredient. But the same office, in 2001, granted Pfizer a patent for sildenafil citrate, Viagra's key active ingredient.

Pfizer's chairman and chief executive Henry McKinnell said he was 'extremely disappointed' at the decision and urged Beijing to be more serious in protecting intellectual property rights.

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