Lexapro patent validated

Forest Laboratories won the latest round in the legal fight to preserve its Lexapro anti-depressant drug patent into 2012 (and the stock market responded today with a 16% increase in the company’s stock price). Forest Labs has good reason to be pleased as the Wall Street Journal reports today that

Generic competitors to [Merck’s statin] Zocor [whose patent protection expired on June 23, 2006] are grabbing a big share of new prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering drugs and already putting pressure on Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor, recent data show. After copycat versions of Zocor became available during the last week of June, they captured 49% of new prescriptions in the U.S. for the medicine known generically as simvastatin. Despite price cuts taken by Merck & Co. to keep Zocor competitive, the brand-name drug’s market share slipped to 51% of new prescriptions during the week that ended June 30, according to data from WoltersKluwerHealth. Patent protection for Zocor in the U.S. ended June 23.