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AstraZeneca Settles Legal Dispute with Watson

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 9:14am

LONDON (AP) — Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has settled a legal dispute with Watson Laboratories, Inc., dismissing a threat against its top-selling cholesterol-control drug, Crestor.

The agreement announced Monday is important to the struggling drug company, which has seen its business hurt by expiring patents and competition from generic drug makers. Patents are crucial assets for pharmaceutical companies, which use them to insulate their brand-name drugs from competition from less expensive generic versions.

Under the agreement, Watson and its parent company, EGIS, concede that the Crestor substance patent is valid and enforceable. Watson had challenged that with another product. Watson also agreed not to challenge a U.S. Federal Court ruling that upheld the Crestor patent.

The deal allows Watson to sell generic versions of Crestor for a fee to AstraZeneca in 2016.

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