A US court has authorised Israeli generic medicines group Teva to resume deliveries of a blood pressure drug despite a patent lawsuit by Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical group said on Tuesday. A US federal court judge in New Jersey rejected on Monday a request from Novartis to stop Teva Pharmaceuticals from resuming shipments of generic versions of the drug, pending a trial in the case, the Swiss group said in a statement.
The court had halted new deliveries of the drug by Teva last month but not sales of stocks that had already been delivered to outlets beforehand. Novartis, which claims it still has a US patent on the drug -- which it markets as Lotrel -- until 2017, said it will continue pursuing its patent infringement lawsuit against Teva in the New Jersey court.
"Teva, which began selling a generic version of Lotrel in the US in May 2007, risks potentially significant damages if Novartis prevails in patent litigation," it added. Lotrel, which is sold only in the US, combines in a single capsule two active ingredients that individually no longer have US patent protection, Novartis said.
The drug had annual sales of 1.35 billion dollars in 2006. Novartis said it would release an evaluation of the potential impact of Teva's actions on full-year 2007 net sales, operating and net income results when it reports on first-half and second-quarter results on July 17.