A federal judge has overturned a verdict by a U.S. jury that required Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) ADR (NYSE:TEVA) to pay GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR)(NYSE:GSK) over $235 million (£167 million) for infringing a patent that covers its blood pressure drug Coreg.
Leonard Stark, a U.S. District Judge while sitting in Wilmington, Delaware ruled that the evidence which was presented did not support the initial ruling in June that Teva sales of a generic version of the drug led to infringement of GSK’s patent.
In the earlier ruling, the jury had ruled that Teva pays $234.1 million to GSK in lost profits. Additionally, the jury said the drug company deserved a further $1.4 million in royalties. The jury further rejected Teva’s argument that the patent was invalid, a decision that was not overturned by Stark.
While responding to the new ruling, British drugmaker GSK said they are very disappointed with the judge’s verdict and are reviewing their options before deciding on the next step to take. Teva, which is based in Israel, is yet to comment on the ruling. Teva’s generic version of Coreg, or carvedilol was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007.
In its lawsuit, GSK had argued that although the FDA application by Teva had a carve-out to address its use in treating severe heart failure, which GSK said remained under patent, the generic drugmaker had changed its label in 2011 so as to add that use.
GSK noted that as a result, Teva many doctors to infringe on its patent by selling the original version of its drug and marketing it as an alternative for Coreg.
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But in his ruling, Stark noted that the evidence presented did not support finding that Teva’s actions and not other factors, caused doctors to infringe the patent by prescribing generic carvedilol for treatment of chronic heart failure.
“Without proof of causation, which is an essential element of GSK’s action, a finding of inducement cannot stand,” Stark wrote.
The case is GlaxoSmithKline LLC et al v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 14-cv-00878.