Drug Wars Update 5

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein heard the first of two days of hearings on Bristol Myers Squibb’s motion for a preliminary injunction barring Apotex from continuing to sell its generic version of the anti-coagulant drug Apotex. Apotex will present its defense on Monday. It is not known how soon Judge Stein will rule after the hearing. My gut reaction is that Judge Stein will issue the preliminary injunction, the purpose of which is to preserve the status quo. Preliminary injunctions are immediately appealable to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

But the issuance of a preliminary injunction here may be akin to closing the barn door after the horse has run away. The Wall Street Journal has described this patent dispute as a “debacle” for Bristol Myers Squibb, thereby making it a takeover target. Barry Sherman, the billionaire owner of Apotex, is generally credited with outmanuevering Bristol Myers’ CEO Peter Dolan.