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Merck & Co wins injunction against Indian firm over diabetes drugs

MUMBAI (Reuters) - MSD, a unit of U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co, said it has won an injunction against India's Aprica Pharmaceuticals and a source said this will stop Aprica launching generic versions of two diabetes drugs in India.

Global pharmaceutical firms have had a series of patent disputes with Indian makers of generic drugs and several recent Indian rulings have gone against the international giants.

MSD holds an Indian patent on sitagliptin, a chemical compound sold under the Januvia and Janumet brands used to treat type-2 diabetes.

"MSD confirms that we have received an ex-parte injunction against Aprica Pharmaceuticals," an MSD spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Tuesday, declining to identify the drugs involved.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter, declining to be identified, confirmed that the injunction by the Delhi High Court covered the two diabetes drugs.

Merck sued another Indian company, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, over the two brands in April, saying Glenmark had directly infringed MSD's intellectual property. The same court is due to hear that case on July 15.

Aprica Pharma could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Diabetes treatment is a growing market in India where about 65 million people take medicines for type-2 diabetes.

(Reporting by Kaustubh Kulkarni; Editing by Tony Munroe/Ruth Pitchford)

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