Wanbury Files Criminal Case against Novartis Chairman and CEO

Wanbury has filed a criminal case against MNC pharma major, Novartis, alleging that they cheated and violated a marketing and distribution agreement. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis International AG and Erwin Schllinger, Chairman, Novartis India Ltd., are amongst other directors and executives of the company named in the suit.

Wanbury, a leading pharma company and the largest producer of anti-diabetic drug, Metformin, alleges that Novartis had entered into an exclusive 8 year agreement with it to market and distribute its product, Triaminic, but had deliberately not honoured the agreement due to which Wanbury suffered a loss of Rs. 70 crore.

The dispute, revolving around three brands of the product, Triaminic, already involves a court case. Wanbury had entered into an eight year contract with Novartis to market and develop the Triaminic brand and in lieu has given some rights and assets to Novartis including Wanbury's brand "Numenic" and its leased commercial premise at Worli, a prime location in Mumbai.

Wanbury then filed a merger petition in the Bombay High court in February 2004 to effect a merger of Wander with Pearl Organics ltd finally changing the name to Wanbury. Novartis then sent Wanbury a notice terminating the eight year contract, citing non-compliance to the agreement.

While the case was still sub-judice, Novartis allegedly repackaged Triaminic as T-minic, claiming it was the same as Triaminic. Novartis circulated literature among doctors and clinics mentioning that T-minic would be marketed under the Novartis name 'till such time some legal points on Triaminic are clarified.'

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