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Gilead must pay MSD $200m in hep C drug patent case

Published on 29/03/16 at 10:01am

A Californian federal jury has ordered Gilead Sciences to pay MSD and Ionis $200 million for infringing on patents relating to hepatitis C drugs Solvadi and Harvoni.

The amount however, falls far short of analysts’ expectations. When the jury ruled earlier this month that MSD’s patents were valid, it had been thought that the damages payable could amount to as much as $2 billion.

The $200 million is nowhere near the 10% royalties of US sales MSD had sought, and the award covers sales from 2013-2015 for the drugs, which amount to some $23.1 billion.

MSD said in a statement: "We are pleased that the jury recognised that patent protections are essential to the development of new medical treatments. The compounds and methods at issue in this case facilitated significant advances in the treatment of patients with HCV infection, and achieving these advancements required many years of research and significant investment by Merck and its partners."

The jury will now decide on royalty payments going forward from January 1, 2016.

Gilead said it plan to appeal the jury's award if a judge upholds it.

Joel Levy

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