Sanofi, BMS win $442M in damages from Apotex

Generics makers, be warned: Premature copycat launches really are risky. That's the message in a new, $442.2 million court ruling against Apotex. A Manhattan judge ordered the generics company to pay $442.2 million to Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb for selling a copycat version of their Plavix blood thinner.

Back in 2006, Apotex launched its version of the blockbuster drug--and managed to "flood the market" in the three weeks before a judge ordered a halt, sending sales of the branded version into a tailspin. During those three weeks, Judge Sidney Stein said, Apotex racked up $884.4 million in sales. And now, Sanofi and Bristol are entitled to half of that.

Not only is Stein awarding the branded drugmakers their lost sales, but he's also giving them interest. "Years of litigation have only confirmed Apotex's liability to Sanofi," Stein wrote. "Apotex has had the use of money Sanofi was entitled to since the patent infringement occurred, and Sanofi deserves complete compensation."

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