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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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October 21, 2010

Apotex's Plavix Adventure: Four Years Later

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Posted by Derek

Remember the Plavix Confusion of 2006? That's when Canadian generic company Apotex managed to jump onto the market for a few weeks with its own version of the BMS/Sanofi-Aventis blockbuster. It was always a bit unclear whether they had the right to do that - there was a case that the company had played rough but fair with some tricky language in their agreements with the two pharmas. Still, Apotex racked up over 800 million dollars in sales while everyone was sorting that out.

Well, four years down the road, a judge has ruled that Apotex owes BMS and S-A damages for their adventure: half the sales, plus interest. That's still less than the triple damages that could be obtained in an open-and-shut case of patent infringement, but it's pretty substantial. I wonder how much of the money Apotex still has handy?

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Cardiovascular Disease | Patents and IP


1. John Doe on October 21, 2010 8:57 AM writes...

Don't Worry, we are fine.

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2. darwin on October 21, 2010 9:32 AM writes...

always easier to apologize that to ask for permission.

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3. BFS on October 21, 2010 9:54 AM writes...

While Apotex was deemed liable for $442M in damages, plus $108M in prejudgment interest, the company still made about $300M from their foray. Not bad, considering the drug was only on the market for three weeks before the PI issued.

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4. Rock on October 21, 2010 10:42 AM writes...

How do they come up with that interest amount?
My bank is only paying me 0.5%, I would love to get that ROI, particularly over the past few years....

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5. ayj on October 21, 2010 10:45 AM writes...

You really think the products were 0-cost? Any company prepare so much cash for fine? It's time to sell or close.

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6. Brian on October 21, 2010 1:27 PM writes...

I am not sure how much money Apotex does have, but I can tell you that when I started my career working for them as an Analytical R & D chemist, I certainly worked on several drugs. It was a great way to get initiated into the field of pharmaceuticals because there was a method for everything. Having worked for both a brand-name and a generic company, I can get a feel for both sides of a product, the cost of R & D for the development of the new product and marketing versus the fight to provide a lower-cost generic version.

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7. Tokamak on October 21, 2010 9:34 PM writes...

Good thing they didn't steal the IP for personal, non-commercial use. Otherwise they'd be on the hook for $576,000,000,000; if recent copyright cases are any indication.

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8. Peej on October 27, 2010 7:03 PM writes...

The reason why it wasnt triple damages was that the BMS CEO, Peter Dolan, signed that provision away in a deal with Apotex in negotiations. Brilliant, huh?

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9. Terry on June 12, 2011 2:15 PM writes...

indeed, in china there is a company named salubris got the exclusivity in china for this drug, the annul sale now is around 100 million dollars, sometimes it is easier to start a generic drug in china, and the medical market of china is the second one after US's, which will exceed US market in 2030.

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