updated 5/10/2010 4:56:59 PM ET 2010-05-10T20:56:59

Merck & Co. said Monday it settled a patent dispute with Glenmark Pharmaceuticals on the cholesterol drug Zetia, one of its best-selling products.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The lawsuit had been scheduled to go to trial Wednesday. Under the terms of the settlement, Glenmark can start selling its generic version of Zetia on Dec. 12, 2016. The patent would have expired on April 25, 2017, Merck said.

Par Pharmaceutical Co., which is Glenmark's partner on the generic, said annual U.S. sales of Zetia are about $1.4 billion.

Zetia, or ezetimibe, was launched in the U.S. in 2002. In addition to being one of Merck's biggest sellers, Zetia is one of the two components of a newer cholesterol drug, Vytorin. The other component of Vytorin is Zocor, which is already available as a generic.

Glenmark received Food and Drug Administration approval for its generic in April. On May 3, it licensed its generic to Par, which will market and distribute the generic. Par and Glenmark will share profits.

Merck shares rose 76 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $34.25 amid a broad market rally Monday, but gave up 14 cents in extended trading. Par Pharmaceutical shares edged up 36 cents to close at $27.04.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments