Legal suits are still ramped with drug companies in the court rooms, this one has to be one of the largest settlements I am aware of, over a billion dollar infringement over the patent, or aka Intellectual Property as sometimes referred to today. The two drugs in question were Humira from Abbott and Remicade from Johnson and Johnson. Here’s a related link with a little history on the case.
Lately there have been other similar battles in court, such as generic company Teva questioning the patent from Merck with Singulair. As the push for generics rises, we may see more of these, thus the patent lifetimes may tend to shrink, as the money for such purchases are getting slim.
Humira had over 4 billion in sales last year, and had actually started R and D 2 years before J and J began with Remicade. Both drugs fall into the human antibody category, thus share some similar properties and are prescribed for the same illnesses. As cheaper drugs emerge the battle is on for the big name cash cows for big pharma. BD
LOS ANGELES — A unit of Johnson & Johnson said Monday that a federal jury has ordered Abbott Laboratories to pay $1.67 billion in a patent infringement suit over the companies' rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
Abbott's best-selling drug, Humira, competes with the drug Remicade, an anti-TNF class of arthritis treatments made by J&J's Centocor. That company and New York University filed a patent infringement suit against North Chicago, Ill.-based Abbott in April 2007 in the Eastern District of Texas.
Anti-TNF refers to drugs which block tumor necrosis factor proteins in the blood. When present in excessive amounts, TNF can cause inflammation, which leads to many of the symptoms suffered by those with autoimmune disorders like RA.