How a small generic drug maker tricked the big guys into a deal that may land the big guys in jail
Apotex chairman, Mr. Sherman seemingly has outsmarted two big drug companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, to market the first generic form of the big-selling drug Plavix five years before its patent expires. And it could conceivably end with someone in jail, according to the New York Times.
The companies agreed to give Mr. Sherman five days on the market before they would seek a preliminary injunction to stop him, giving Apotex time it has used to flood drugstores with its version of Plavix.
"Mr. Sherman’s contention that he had not expected regulators to approve the patent settlement is supported by a letter he wrote to three United States senators on July 7, criticizing the growing tendency of generic makers to cut deals with big drug companies.
“Before turning to the essential point of this letter,” Mr. Sherman wrote, “I must comment on the well-publicized perception that Apotex has entered into an anticompetitive settlement with Sanofi/BMS concerning clopidogrel (Plavix). That perception is incorrect. Apotex has negotiated only to remove barriers to immediate launch. To achieve that objective, we entered into a somewhat bizarre arrangement that will enable immediate launch, if and when F.T.C. refuses to approve a settlement.”
The letter — addressed to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and the Democrats Charles E. Schumer of New York and Herbert H. Kohl of Wisconsin — accurately predicted that the refusal would come within weeks."
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