Stop that generic Eloxatin shipment! A U.S. appeals court suspended approvals of copycat forms of Sanofi-Aventis' cancer treatment, reviving the drugmaker's efforts to fight generic rivals. Sanofi had sued the FDA over its decision to OK generic versions of Eloxation, but the agency last week approved several copycat forms. At least one of the generics makers to win the FDA nod--Hospira--has already started selling its version, so it's going to be forced to halt shipments while the court hears arguments in the case.
Meanwhile, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said it's halting its launch plans for its Eloxatin copies. "Teva is not shipping further product until the legal issue is resolved," a spokeswoman told Dow Jones. "We are hopeful to have a decision in the near future." Sun Pharmaceutical Industries also had won FDA approval for its generic version; the company has not yet commented on the Sanofi suit.
No wonder Sanofi mounted this last-ditch effort to stop potential Eloxatin rivals: The medicine brought in $1.9 billion globally last year and is the drugmaker's fifth-best selling product. We'll see whether the court helps Sanofi protect that revenue stream--or throws open the door to competition.