US: Ranbaxy pay-for-delay trial starts

As complex as reverse-payment antitrust lawsuits can be, the one being litigated against generic drug maker Ranbaxy over its settlement with Cephalon can be broken down to the difference between fine and coarse salt, said one of the attorneys bringing the case.

Foley & Lardner attorney James Matthews, who is representing fellow generic drug maker Apotex, told the jury set to preside over Apotex v. Cephalon that the name-brand drugmaker Cephalon essentially bought coarse kosher salt and then told the US patent office that it invented the finer version of the same substance.

“They didn’t even grind it. They just bought it. They went to the store and bought Morton fine salt and they told the patent office they made it,” Matthews said. He went on to explain that Ranbaxy later discovered the misconduct and then used it to obtain an anti-competitive settlement agreement with Cephalon for more than $26 million that delayed other generic companies from entering the market for six years. “Did they do it because they were afraid of the patent, and they thought they were going to lose the case? Or did they do it because they wanted the $26 million?”

What Matthews was likening to salt was modafinil, the active ingredient in Provigil, which Cephalon bought from a French company. What Cephalon eventually patented was “small particle modafinil.”

Full Content: Delaware Law Weekly

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