AstraZeneca share price little changed as group scores victory in Nexium trial

on Dec 8, 2014
Listen, Monday, December 8:AstraZeneca Plc (LON:AZN) has scored a victory in a US trial challenging the company’ssettlement with India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories aimed at delaying the launch of a cheap generic version to the Anglo-Swedish company’s top-selling drug Nexium. The verdictmarks the first time a jury has decided such a case since the US Supreme Court ruled last year that consumers can sue over‘pay-for-delay’ deals.

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AstraZeneca’s share price has not moved much on the news, which broke after the London market closed on Friday, having lost about 0.7 percent so far this morning. The decline is broadly in line with the benchmark FTSE 100 index which currently stands about 0.6 percent lower.
The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said in a statement on Friday that a jury in the US District Court of Massachusetts had returned a verdict in favour of the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker in an antitrust case filed by various purchaser groups challenging a previous settlement of Nexium patent litigation with Ranbaxy. The settlement, reached in 2008, stalled sales of a cheaper version of the London-listed company’s Nexium heartburn drug in the US until AstraZeneca’s patents expired in May this year.
“AstraZeneca is pleased with the jury’s verdict,” the FTSE 100 pharma group said in the statement.“The Company has always maintained that the plaintiffs’ allegations were without merit.” The plaintiffs had argued that the payment to the Indian company had violated antitrust laws.
One unidentified juror told Bloomberg that he was swayed by defence arguments that the deal was not anti-competitive because no company had the necessary regulatory approval to sell generic Nexium. He noted that some of the people had said that “any payoff is a delay, but that’s not really true”.


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