A patent protection dispute has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court concerning a drug popularly used to treat multiple sclerosis. One teacher at the Colorado School of Medicine has stated that Copaxone or Glatiramer acetate was approved by the FDA in 1996 and has long been used as part of an MS therapy. It also has remained an extremely profitable medication for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, a company that has a patent on Copaxone.
Teva is now hoping to prevent other companies from marketing cheaper generic versions of this medication. These generic medications could become available to patients as early as May when patent protection for Copaxone will apparently be lost. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had earlier invalidated a patent that would have provided protection for Copaxone until September 2015.
The medications for MS are said to be extremely expensive for patients and therefore there is a push for generic equivalents to these drugs. It has been reported that many MS medications have quadrupled during the past 10 years and may cost as much as $60,000 per year. A generic version of Copaxone would thus be of great interest should it be demonstrated that such an equivalent could be reliably reproduced. However, there are questions as to whether a generic version of Copaxone is even doable.
Patent disputes can thus be both complex and involve extremely important concerns for both the companies involved in the dispute and the consumers that rely upon these products. Struggles to come to an appropriate solution for such concerns will thus require experienced business law attorneys who understand all aspects of these vital concerns.
Source: Inside Counsel, “Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal about popular MS drug,” Ed Silverstein, April 3, 2014