Generic drug company Apotex Corp, Canada’s biggest drug maker, has paid Sanofi SA, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., nearly $445 million to end a ten-year patent infringement lawsuit over the blood thinner Plavix. Apotex paid the drug makers $442.2 million in damages, over its generic sales of Plavix in 2006, and $1.26 million in interest, and $900,000 in legal fees.
Bloomberg reports that the Plavix “saga” includes illegal deals, a US Justice Department criminal antitrust investigation, a probe over inflated sales figures, and the removal of a Bristol CEO.
Federal investigators raided Bristol’s headquarters in August 2006 over a deal that both drug makers paid $40 million to Apotex to delay the introduction of generic sales of Plavix until 2011. While Bristol was under investigation, Apotex performed an “at risk launch” of clopidogrel, a copycat version of Plavix, which distributors stocked in large amounts. Later that year, Bristol and Sanofi won an injunction that blocked the sales of the generic version.
Also, that year, Bristol CEO Peter Dolan was forced out over an earlier investigation regarding “channel-stuffing” wholesalers with inventory. Bristol admitted making false statements to the FTC over the delay deal with Apotex and paid $1 million in fines.