Novopharm fined $1.25 million for contempt of court

January 1, 1998
Pharmaceutical Representative

In what may be largest fine ever levied for contempt of court in Canada, courts in Winnipeg penalized Novopharm Ltd. $1.25 million.

In what may be largest fine ever levied for contempt of court in Canada, courts in Winnipeg penalized Novopharm Ltd. $1.25 million.

Novopharm was fined for failure to comply with a court order to disclose documents pertaining to the drug Lovastatin, for secretly resuming research on the product and for making submissions to the government using illegally retained documents.

According to a statement issued by Associate Chief Justice Oliphant, Novopharm's actions were motivated by a desire to bring Lovastatin to market before rival products, such as those produced by pharmaceutical company Apotex Inc. "The contemptuous conduct here was, I believe…fueled by what must be one of the most bitter business rivalries I have ever witnessed," Oliphant said.

In the past, Novopharm was held liable for misappropriation of technology from a fermentation facility in Winnipeg owned by Apotex.

As a result, Novopharm cannot use the technology and was ordered to pay damages to Apotex in the amount of $6.5 million.

In addition to the most recent fine of $1.25 million, the court also ordered Novopharm to pay all of the legal costs that Apotex incurred as a result of the contempt proceedings. PR