GSK share price: Pharmco challenges rival’s purple inhaler
GlaxoSmithKline Plc (LON:GSK) is seeking an injunction preventing the roll-out of an asthma inhaler by a rival, The Irish Times has reported. The blue-chip drugmaker claims that pharma company Rowex Ltd is preparing to sell a product with a similar packaging to Glaxo’s flagship ‘Seretide’ inhaler.
GSK’s share price has been little changed in afternoon trade, having shed 0.12 percent to 1,626.50p as of 12:42 BST. The shares are slightly underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has added 0.41 percent to 7,104.02 points so far today.
The Irish Times reported yesterday that GSK, along with its Irish subsidiary, was to apply next month for an injunction preventing Rowex Ltd from proceeding with the launch of its AirFluSal inhaler. GSK claims that the product is similar in its packaging to the UK company’s ‘Seretide’ inhaler.
The newspaper quoted GSK’s vice-president and trademark counsel Joanne Green as saying in an affidavit that her company had built up a valuable intellectual property over the last 15 years in the use of “the unique and distinctive colour purple” on its Seretide inhaler. Green noted that the AirFluSal inhaler, which contains the same generic active ingredient, was also to be packaged using the colour purple.
This is a “blatant and unlawful attempt to piggy-back on the huge investment,” Green pointed out, adding that if Rowex was to change the colour of its product, the FTSE 100 company would have no objection to the shape of the AirFluSal inhaler.
Respiratory drugs are one of GSK’s key areas with the company expecting total sales of its respiratory portfolio to return to growth next year. The company, however, forecast earlier this year that global sales of its Seretide/Advair therapy would continue to decline this year amid competition from cheaper generics. GSK is scheduled to update investors on its first-quarter performance on May 6.
As of 15:23 BST, Wednesday, 15 April, GlaxoSmithKline plc share price is 1,623.25p.