Judge upholds Merck patent on blockbuster allergy drug Singulair, protecting sales till 2012

Judge rules for Merck on allergy drug’s patent

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey rules in favor of drugmaker Merck in a patent fight with a company wanting to make a generic version of Merck’s top-selling drug.

Teva Pharmaceuticals has been seeking approval from U.S. regulators to sell three doses of Singulair (sing-gyoo-LAIR’). The popular pill treats asthma and hay fever.

Judge Garrett E. Brown upheld Merck’s patent and issued an injunction that prevents Teva from selling generic versions until the patent expires in August 2012.

The ruling comes after a trial held in February.

Singulair has been on the market since 1998. It brought Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck sales of $4.3 billion last year, and slightly higher sales are expected this year.

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