Significant profits at stake in MS drug patent battle

It is well known that pharmaceutical companies make a great deal of money from their products.  It is also indisputable that they make significant profit from the drugs they sell to treat those of us with chronic illnesses, including multiple sclerosis.

There are widespread beliefs that some companies manipulate the system to gain further patent time from their drugs.

CopaxoneThis has been brought into sharper focus because two pharmaceutical companies are currently locked in a battle over MS drug Copaxone.

Copaxone is sold by Teva Pharmaceuticals, under patents licensed from Yeda Research & Development Company, but rival Mylan NV is challenging the validity. In fact, Mylan petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office to review the Copaxone patents’ validity last year. The patents, which expire in 2030, cover a 40-milligram injection of Copaxone that patients administer three times a week.

Now, the office has decided that two of the patents are considered ’unpatentable’, with its decision on a third patent being due this Thursday, September 1.

Mylan has already filed with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring out a version of the 40 mg drug but Teva spokeswoman Denise Bradley said that the company would, unsurprisingly, appeal the decision through the courts.

tevaIn its argument put to the patent office, Mylan said that a less-frequently administered drug was obvious and not deserving of legal protection.

Mylan Chief Executive Officer Heather Bresch said the decision was “comprehensive, well-reasoned, and highly persuasive in detailing the bases for the invalidity of Teva’s 40 mg patents.”

There is big money at stake too as IMS Health, a healthcare information company, is said to estimate sales of the drug to be $3.3 billion annually.


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