Court Roundup

New York
Pfizer settles patent case over  Protonix drug

NEW YORK (AP) — Two generic drugmakers will pay $2.15 billion to Pfizer and Takeda Pharmaceutical to settle a patent fight over the heartburn treatment Protonix.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., one of the world’s largest generic drugmakers, will pay $1.6 billion, while India’s Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. will pay $550 million for selling their versions of Protonix before the patent protecting the drug expired.
Pfizer Inc., based in New York, said Wednesday that it will receive 64 percent of the settlement proceeds.
A jury had decided in 2010 that the patent protecting Protonix was valid, and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey then upheld that decision. The companies reached their settlement shortly after the start of a federal trial to determine damages.
Its lawsuit aimed to recover some of the money lost after Protonix started competing with cheaper generic drugs. Drugmaker Nycomed had developed Protonix before that company was purchased by Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Nycomed had licensed Protonix to Wyeth, which Pfizer has since purchased.
Nycomed had said U.S. sales for the drug reached $1.9 billion in 2007 but tumbled significantly afterward.
Teva had started selling its generic version of Protonix in December 2007. Sun then launched its own version in early 2008 before the drug’s U.S. patent expired in 2011.
Teva and Sun had used a tactic called an “at-risk launch,” meaning they started selling their versions before the patents on the original expired.

North Carolina
Greenville police officer charged in bribery scheme

ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) — A Greenville police officer is scheduled for trial on July 29 in federal court in Aberdeen on charges of accepting payments from a local nightclub owner in exchange for warning the businessman when state liquor law enforcers were in town.
Police Sgt. Burney Alfred Peacock was released Tuesday on $10,000 bond after an initial appearance in U.S. District Court where he pleaded not guilty.
Peacock is charged with one count of unlawfully accepting property of another and four counts of interference with commerce by threat or violence. If convicted, Peacock could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years on the first count and up to five years on each of the other four counts.