Pulmicort Respules have been the subject of heated patent litigation between AstraZeneca and Teva Pharmaceuticals for quite some time, but no longer: The two companies have finally settled their dispute.
To cut the deal, Teva conceded that its generic medication infringes upon the AstraZeneca patents for Pulmicort Respules, and that AstraZeneca's patents are indeed valid and enforceable. In exchange, AstraZeneca agreed to provide an exclusive license to Teva to market and sell a generic version of the medication, beginning December 15, 2009, and agreed it will not sell its own generic version, although it will continue to market under the Pulmicort Respules brand.
It's an expensive license apparently, for which Teva will pay "significant" (though thus far secret) royalties, which will lessen if there is competition from additional copycat products hitting the market at that time.
Perhaps in anticipation of the settlement--or perhaps convinced it could win the case--Teva shipped generic versions of the medication out last week in an "at risk" launch. If Teva had lost the case, scheduled for January, it would have had to pay AstraZeneca triple charges. However, the settlement relieved Teva of that burden, although Teva will pay AstraZeneca an undisclosed penalty sum for the launch.