Fight Over Hypertension Pill Leads To Lawsuit

Forest Laboratories and Janssen Pharmaceutical have accused several companies of seeking to sell a generic version of a drug that is still under patent.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Forest Laboratories Inc. and Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Pharmaceutica NV said Wednesday that they have sued several pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of seeking to sell a generic version of a high blood pressure drug that is still under patent.

The companies named in the lawsuit are Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Watson Laboratories Inc., Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Glenmark Generics Inc. and Hetero USA Inc.

Forest said the companies had filed applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell generic versions of Bystolic before the patent expires in 2021. Forest licenses the Bystolic patent from Janssen. It asked the court to block the companies from selling the generics.

The FDA approved Bystolic for use in the U.S. in 2007. The drug is a member of the beta blocker family of medications that fight high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and slowing heart rate.

A Glenmark spokesman said the company expects to win FDA approval to sell a generic version. Amerigen and Torrent declined to comment. Messages left with the other companies were not immediately returned.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal district court in Delaware.

Forest and Janssen sued two other companies in federal court in Illinois over the same patent.

Shares of Forest fell a penny to $33.69 on Wednesday. J&J dipped 25 cents to $65.08.

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