New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Delhi high court order restraining generic drug maker Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd from manufacturing sitagliptin, an anti-diabetes drug.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and N.V. Ramana agreed to consider the dispute between Glenmark and US-based Merck Sharp and Dohme Corp. on 28 April.

While Merck and Indian generic drug manufacturer Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Merck’s licensee for making sitagliptin in India, resisted the stay of the high court order, the apex court said that since there had been no stay for a long time, a few more weeks would not affect anything.

Glenmark’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the high court order found certain points in its favour, but still went ahead and reversed the single judge’s which had refused to grant an injunction to Merck in April 2013.

Merck’s lawyer T.R. Andhyarujina said that the injunction was a “blatant infringement of a worldwide patent".

In a 20 March order, a bench of justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Najmi Waziri had restrained Glenmark from making or selling the anti-diabetes drug sitagliptin in a patent infringement case filed by Merck. The court had however allowed Glenmark, which sells the medicine under the brand names Zita and Zita-met, to sell its inventory held by distributors and retailers.

Merck, which manufactures sitagliptin under the brand names Januvia and Janumet, had approached the high court in April 2013 to restrain Glenmark from manufacturing the drug used for the treatment of type II diabetes. On 5 April 2013, justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw had refused to grant an injunction against Glenmark.

Another Indian generic drug maker, Sun Pharma, which sells sitagliptin in India under the brand name Istavel and the sitagliptin-metformin combination under the brand name Istamet with a permit from Merck, has also sued Glenmark in this case.

Apoorva contributed to this story.

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