A US court yesterday ordered Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to pay $235 million compensation to GlaxoSmithKline for violation of the latter’s patent for its Coreg drug, used to treat chronic heart failure.
The decision was a jury verdict handed down on Tuesday, June 20, at the US District Court for the District of Delaware.
The prevalent practice in the generic drug industry is for generic companies to attack a patent with a claim that it has expired, while launching a generic version of it. The innovative drug companies characteristically claim that the patent is still valid, thereby gaining more time to enjoy exclusivity for the original drug. A generic drug company launching the first generic version of an innovative drug receives a certain period of exclusivity for its generic version, but runs the risk that a court will rule that the original patent did not expire, in which case the generic company has to pay damages to the ethical drug company.
GSK sued Teva in 2014 for filing an Abbreviated New Drug Application seeking to market carvedilol, a class of chemical compounds used to treat patients with high blood pressure and heart failure. GSK markets carvedilol under the name Coreg, which is covered by US patent number RE40,000, titled “Method of treatment for decreasing mortality resulting from congestive heart failure”.
The company said in its complaint: “Teva knew and intended that its generic copy carvedilol products would be substituted for Coreg even for patients prescribed the drug for treatment of congestive heart failure resulting in the direct infringement of the ‘000 patent.”