Merck prevails in Singulair patent suit

Merck now has the advantage in its patent tussle over Singulair. A federal judge upheld the drugmaker's patent on the allergy-and-asthma blockbuster yesterday. What's more, the judge ordered a permanent injunction against generics maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which has been fighting to launch its version of the drug, Reuters reports.

Under the judge's order, Teva will be unable to make or sell copycat Singulair until a patent expires in 2012. As you know, Teva applied two years ago for FDA approval for its version of the drug, and Merck sued to protect its product--and its $3 billion or so in annual U.S. sales.

Teva says it's reviewing the latest ruling to determine what to do next. For its part, Merck welcomed the ruling (of course). "The court appropriately ruled that the patent for Singulair in the U.S. is valid," Executive Vice President, Bruce Kuhlik, said in a statement. "We invest heavily in the R&D that is needed to discover innovative medicines like SINGULAIR, and we will vigorously defend our intellectual property rights."

- read the Merck release
- see the news from Reuters
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