Pharma Giant GlaxoSmithKline to Battle Rowex Over Purple Design of a New Inhaler

Published: Apr 15, 2015

Pharma Giant GlaxoSmithKline to Battle Rowex Over Purple Design of a New Inhaler
April 15, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

GlaxoSmithKline , the U.K.-based global biopharmaceutical company, will now take legal action to stop Rowex Ltd. from selling an asthma product that is similar to its own. Multiple sources began reporting on April 15 that GSK would apply for an injunction to stop Rowex from marketing an inhaler known as AirFluSal. The product is supposedly similar in packaging to its Seretide inhaler.

Specifically, GSK believes that Rowex is infringing upon the company’s trademark. AirFluSal is slated to have a purple design, which is similar to Seretide’s look. Joanne Green, GSK’s vice president and trademark counsel, told the Irish Independent that if the color were changed, the company would have no issue with Rowex’s product.

Currently, there are several products on the market that include ingredients that are also found in Seretide. The issue itself appears to lie within the design of AirFluSal. At the time of this story, GSK could not be reached for comment.

GSK has more than 98,000 employees in 115 countries around the world. The company focuses on the development vaccines and medications to enhance patient treatment.

Recently, GSK made news when it indicated that it is studying strategies to simplify its Patient First program. This program was initially implemented in the U.S. in 2011, and GSK is now attempting to alter the way it compensates its sales staff.

Novartis’ Interaction with AirFluSal
Novartis AG ’ generic arm, Sandoz, Inc., received approval to market AirFluSal Forspiro in Denmark in December 2013. AirFluSal Forspiro was originally developed to help patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. At the time of this news, Zacks analysts noted that the drug had the potential to boost sales and strengthen Sandoz, Inc.’s portfolio.

Today, Rowex is also attempting to market AirFluSal Forspiro to patients with asthma or COPD. In its user information packet, the company notes that the product comes in a purple dispenser.

As GSK and Rowex battle over the design of AirFluSal, other companies continue to enter the asthma market with products of their own. Most notably, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 1 for ProAir RespiClick. The inhalation powder is designed for adults and adolescents with asthma and exercise-induced bronchospasm.

Approximately in the U.S. have asthma, and this number increases each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

BioSpace Temperature Poll
After last week's news that Gilead had issued a health advisory to doctors, concern is growing after nine patients taking Harvoni or Sovaldi along with another drug, amiodarone, were treated for abnormally slow heartbeats. One of the patients died of cardiac arrest. Three of the nine patients required a pacemaker. That has BioSpace asking, what next?

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