Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ’s) share price has come under pressure (down 2.3% WoW) after news last week that a US appeals court ruled the company could not prevent the sale of a generic version of Zytiga (its blockbuster prostate cancer medicine) while it appeals the decision. The US Court of Appeals twice last week rejected JNJ’s request to prevent generic versions from being sold in the US while it appeals a trial judge’s ruling that invalidated a patent on the medicine.
Zytiga recorded $1.4bn in US sales during the first nine months of 2018, and generic drug makers had expected to start selling the drug in October. JNJ and its partner BTG Plc receive an average of more than $5mn every day they can prevent a competing medicine from entering the market. Mylan, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Hikma Pharmaceuticals all received final approval from the US Food and Drug Association (FDA), so the courts are all that is preventing the companies from starting sales; Dr. Reddy’s Labs and Amneal Pharmaceuticals also want to start selling copies of the medicine.
The appeals court said the decision shouldn’t be seen as indicating which side will ultimately win and arguments are scheduled for 24 January 2019 in Washington. JNJ said it will ask the Supreme Court for an emergency order to halt the copycat medicines.