Supreme Court Helps Teva Keep MS Patients Paying for Branded Drug Until 2030 | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Teva Pharmaceuticals received a boost today from the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned a decision by a federal appeals court that had invalidated a key patent on its Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug.

For Teva, the ruling provides valuable time to shift patients to a longer-action version of Copaxone with patent protection until 2030. The drug maker hopes to shift up to 80% of existing patients to the newer version before generics arrive and, so far, conversion is going well so far, according to BMO Capital Markets analyst David Maris. He notes that about 63% of total existing patients and 51% of new patients have been switched.

Of course, generic drug makers could risk launching copycat versions before the litigation ends, but Barclays analyst Doug Tsao thinks is unlikely.

“Until now, pending the Supreme Court decision, the patent had been invalidated, so even though generics would have been launching at risk, they would not have been subject to treble damages” if they were to sell copycat versions but then lose the patent litigation, he writes in an investor note.

“In our view, the threat of treble damages, as well as the low likelihood of winning on appeal now makes it appear considerably less likely that generic challenges would launch at risk, even if they received FDA approval before a final court decision.”