Eli Lilly is celebrating the news that the US Supreme Court has declined to hear a fresh patent challenge to the firm’s blockbuster schizophrenia drug Zyprexa.
Without making any comment, the justices have allowed to stand a federal appeals court ruling from December last year which affirmed another ruling from April 2005 that confirmed patent coverage on Zyprexa (olanzapine) until 2011.
The original case involved a challenge by generic drugmakers Zenith Goldline Pharmaceuticals, owned by IVAX Corp (now part of Novartis), India's Dr Reddy's Laboratories and the US arm of Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. The firms claimed that the Zyprexa’s patent was no longer was valid because discovery its molecular structure was obvious and that a previous Lilly patent had covered it.
This should put any Zyprexa patent dispute problems on the backburner for the timebeing, welcome news for Lilly which has seen the drug constantly in the headlines and indeed the law courts. It has paid out over $1 billion to settle tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming the company failed to disclose health risks associated with the treatment. It is still selling well, and second-quarter revenues reached $1.2 billion, up 9%.