Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) has suffered another blow in its line of business following a bitter ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The pharmaceutical icon lost its bid over cholesterol medication patent. Amgen had appealed against a 2017 jury verdict it won against its rival drugmakers, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi SA. The appeal was accusing the two of infringing Amgen’s patents related to Repatha, but the justices declined to hear it.
As Sanofi and Regeneron celebrated the Supreme Court’s action, Amgen expressed disappointment citing that it was very prepared with the new trial. Speaking about their victory in a joint statement, the companies outlined their confidence in the law, which they claimed supported their facts. The trial is now moving to the federal court in Delaware and will take place from Feb. 19.
How did the trial come about?
In 2014 California-based Amgen moved to court. The company was alleging that Regeneron and Sanofi were interfering with its patents relating to its competing drug Repatha. It was also seeking to block sales of Praluent; an injectable drug, which treats high cholesterol levels. In 2016, a jury ruled in favor of Amgen citing that the patents linked to Repatha were valid.
However, Sanofi and Regeneron claimed that the validity of the patents infringed on Praluent. The U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware seemed agreement to the claims and immediately nullified the sales of Praluent. Nonetheless, the Judge did note that having the two drug in the market would be in be the best interest of the public.
Cholesterol drug price cut
Despite all the fights with its competitors, Amgen still found it worthy to make Repatha accessible to hundreds of patients. It reduced the price of cholesterol medicine by 60%. According to the company’s CEO Bob Bradway, many patients could not afford to pay for the treatment. Hence they were walking away from the prescription.
Even though the company will lose, the price cut is encouraging. The positive reactions from physicians and patients can tell it all. Besides a majority can now manage the high risk for heart attack and stroke.