Teva’s Patent Infringement Surprises Judge

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Introduction: 

In 2017, Teva faced claims that the company had violated its patent by pushing doctors to prescribe GlaxoSmithKline’s generic Coreg. This led to a fine of $235 million, for their infringement. The fine was just overruled by U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark. 

Background of GSK’s Coreg: 

GlaxoSmithKline’s generic Coreg was approved in 1995. It is used for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure. It works by blocking a few natural processes and eventually reducing the blood pressure to avoid strokes and heart attacks.

The drug was marketed in the U.S.for heart failure, and thus, Teva’s generic was not approved due to patent protection. 

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated Teva to work on its label but after revision, it still included the use for heart failure which the GSK had a patent for, thus in 2017, GSK sued Teva for infringement of the labels, the verdict of which was in favor of Teva back in 2018 and the suit was closed. 

Case Revival: 

Recently, GSK urged the U.S. courts to look into the verdict against Teva again and Teva to pay GSK more than $235 million for the infringement of the patent. 

There was an argument in the federal courts to revive the case, and the jury was confused about how the verdict had been given in favor of Teva back in 2017. One of the judge from the panel was recorded saying that she couldn’t find a stronger case of induced infringement of the drug’s patent, as all the three indications were cited in the generic label and even after the re-write of the label, it infringed the GSK’s patent. 

Recent updates: 

The three-judge panel asked really harsh questions regarding the suit, and it left Teva in shock that the suit they had gotten rid of back in 2017 is back again. The jury questioned the intention of Teva by asking if they had issued those press releases as goodwill or to let the doctor’s know that they can prescribe this drug. The lawyer stated that Teva never had the intention to issue the exact same releases as the Coreg’s, but just wanted to inform the physicians that a generic was about to hit the market. Another Teva spokesperson rejected to comment on the case. 

The case is still ongoing, but one thing is for sure, Teva has faced many similar lawsuits in the recent years of which the GSK lawsuit is just one. The company is slowly declining, with an increase in debt. Moody, a debt-rating agency rated its outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘low,’ and the amount the company has to pay for settlements could affect its the ability to pay back $2 billion of debt. With all these troubles, the investors must be looking for a door to escape.