It looks like Teva Pharmaceuticals
Last month, the generic-drug maker launched a copycat version of Wyeth's
Well, negotiations must have broken down, because Wyeth and Nycomed announced on Tuesday that they would be launching their own version of the generic drug. They're not giving up on their belief that the patent holds until 2010, just trying to minimize the damage before the courts can rule.
Assuming the negotiations were going nowhere, it's a shrewd move by Wyeth. It punishes Teva, since the generic price will drop because of the additional generic competition. Now the pressure is on Teva to settle, since it doesn't stand to gain as much and still risks having to pay triple damages if it loses the patent battle that is set to begin in the second half of this year.
Interestingly, Wyeth's move seems to have spurred India's Sun Pharmaceuticals to launch its generic version of the drug through its American partner, Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories
If the standoff continues much longer, the generic competition is going to have serious repercussions for the drug, which logged almost $1.5 billion of sales in the first nine months of 2007. It's not unheard of to see revenues from branded drugs drop more than 50% after a generic launch.
There are some additional winners and losers in this high-stakes standoff. Pharmacy benefit managers such as Medco Health Solutions
I have no idea who will ultimately win this standoff, but my guess is that the negotiators for both sides probably have strong enough stomachs that they don't need their heartburn medications.
Our Foolishness is anything but generic: