Last week, Wyeth (a subsidiary of Pfizer) reached a settlement with Indian drug makers, Dr. Reddy’s Labs Ltd., over a generic version of Effexor XR, which is an extended release version of the popular antidepressant medication.
Wyeth had many different lawsuits filed against various generic drug makers, and this settlement is said to be the last one Wyeth will reach in its bid to keep a tight grip on the worldwide market for venlafaxine. Wyeth has already reached a settlement agreement with Orchid Chemicals earlier this month. Wyeth has also reached agreements with other companies as well, including Sun Pharma, Lupin, Aurobindo Pharma, Ranbaxy and Teva.
Right now, these generic drug firms are allowed to sell their versions of Effexor before Effexor actually reaches its patent expiry date as long as they successfully challenged the patents of the inventor in accordance with current U.S. patent laws. So far neither Wyeth nor Dr. Reddy’s has disclosed the terms of their settlement, but Dr. Reddy’s vice chairman and chief executive officer G.V. Prasad has said the settlement is “not significant. All firms involved in this litigation have settled,” to the Financial Chronicle.
The spokesperson from Pfizer also stated, “We can confirm that our Wyeth subsidiary has reached an agreement with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories that will enable a generic version of Effexor XR to enter the market on June 1, 2011. Terms of the agreement are confidential. It’s important to note that Wyeth previously had reached agreements with other generic manufacturers regarding Effexor XR.”
One senior official for an Indian pharmaceutical company that previously reached a settlement with Wyeth has said, “Given the large number of generic firms that had challenged the patents of Wyeth over Effexor and the series of settlements Wyeth had entered into, the average settlement amount is insignificant, mostly slightly over the litigation charges incurred by the drug firms.”
The patents for Effexor will expire in 2017, but generic drug companies have been vying to sell their versions of the popular antidepressant. Previous settlements with Wyeth were under better terms than the most recent settlements, but with the drug’s money-making potential, drug makers just want to make as much money as they can before time runs out. The thousands of lawsuits against Effexor’s side effects seem to be a mere side note.