Feb 7, 2020 - Health

A tale of two drug patent cases

A Biogen sign in front of the Biogen headquarters building.
Biogen scored a major patent win with its multiple sclerosis drug. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The U.S. Patent and Appeal Board this week handed down mixed rulings in a pair of important cases involving drug patents.

Why it matters: The patent system is the foundation of drug companies' ability to keep their prices high, and these specific rulings will affect access and cost for two drugs that treat serious conditions — HIV and multiple sclerosis.

Biogen won a patent dispute over its multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, which generated $4.4 billion of global revenue in 2019 — meaning a cheaper competitor won't come this year.

  • The Tecfidera patent doesn't expire until 2028, although Biogen expects generics to hit the market before then due to other pending cases.
  • Read the decision.

Gilead failed to invalidate patents held by the federal government pertaining to its HIV prevention pill, Truvada.

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