Merck circles the wagons around Singulair

Next week could be critical for Merck and its allergy drug Singulair. The top seller is under attack by Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which wants to make a copycat version. Teva is challenging Merck's patents on the drug, which start expiring in 2012, and the suit has a court date set for Monday.

As you know, Singulair is a key product for Merck. It brought in $4.3 billion in 2008 sales, or 18 percent of the drugmaker's top line. Analysts told Dow Jones that Merck has the stronger case, but Teva is one tough cookie. So it's possible that the two companies might come up with some kind of settlement. Authorized generic? We'll have to wait and see.

- read the Wall Street Journal Health Blog story