On Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 it was announced that Merck will be able to seek royalties from Gilead Sciences for Sovaldi and Harvoni, the drugs that have dominated the Hepatitis C market.
Merck accused Gilead of infringing on two patents obtained by Merck in 2002. However, in 2013 and 2014 Gilead launched the active ingredient Sofosbuvir which can be found in Sovaldi and is a component of Harvoni. Gilead collected $19.1 billion dollars last year on these two Hepatitis C drugs. Merck is now seeking billions in damages and royalties for the drugs.
On Tuesday the jury ruled that Merck’s patents were valid and the case spiraled to decide the damages.
Gilead argued that when they bought out Pharmasset back in 2011 they might have used the patent on the then-experimental drug Sovaldi, and used Merck’s 2002 patents to develop that drug. Merck and Ionis Pharmaceuticals had spent years and a significant amount of money on this patent.
In the end, Merck disputed that Gilead infringed two patents to develop treatments for Hepatitis C. Merck now is demanding a 10 percent royalty on all U.S. Sales, past and future.
Have you followed this case? What are your thoughts?