Drug Companies Settling Multiple Patent Cases


There has been a spate of drug companies settling patent litigation recently.

Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Salix Pharmaceuticals, and Wyeth LLC settled two patent infringement lawsuits with Actavis over its proposed generic versions of Relistor products. Relistor treats constipation caused by narcotic pain medications. Actavis admitted the patents are valid and enforceable and it was granted a limited license to the patents. Full-year 2017 net worldwide sales of Relistor were $73.1 million.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences Inc. and Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. told the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware they were about two weeks away from finalizing a settlement deal over infringement litigation relating to Mylan’s proposed generic copy of Gilead’s HIV-treatment booster Tybost.

Pfizer Inc. and Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc. voluntarily ended litigation over Aurobindo’s planned copycat of Pfizer’s drug Tikosyn, which treats abnormal heart beats. Other companies’ generic versions of the drug have been on the market since 2016.

Tikosyn was one of the drugs for which a charitable organization set up by Pfizer paid Medicare patients’ copayments. Earlier this year, Pfizer agreed to pay $23.8 million to settle allegations it violated the federal False Claims Act by paying the copayments for Tikosyn and for the kidney cancer drugs Sutent and Inlyta.

Pfizer has a separate program in which it offers drugs for free to qualifying patients, which is legal. The Justice Department alleged, however, that Pfizer worked with a third-party pharmacy to direct some of those patients to the foundation’s free copay program, so that it could file claims to Medicare for the drugs, and enhance its profits.

Pfizer raised the price of Tikosyn 44 percent during the time it sent patients to its foundation and while claims for the prescription drugs were sent to Medicare.

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