Novartis wins legal battle over eye drops

Man with macular degeneration has his eye's retina examined during a check-up in Boston, United States Keystone

A court in Germany has ruled in favour of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis in a long-running legal case over the distribution of a drug to slow age-related vision loss.

This content was published on January 15, 2014 - 09:03 and agencies

Judges in Hamburg found the German company Aposan must not sell pre-filled syringes for €600 (CHF741) partly containing the Lucentis drug, said court officials on Tuesday.

The medication for the treatment of macular degeneration is distributed by Novartis in bottles of at a cost of €1,200. In the United States the drug is marketed by the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche.

Novartis said the verdict by the German court helped ensure patient safety. Worldwide sales of Lucentis totalled $2.4 billion in 2012.

Experts say the ruling could set a legal precedent for health insurance companies trying to cut rising drug prices.

The verdict is subject to an appeal.

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