Teva Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TEVA) is up to its old tricks. In the past few years, the generic drugmaker has made at-risk launches of generic versions of Wyeth's (NYSE:WYE) Protonix and AstraZeneca's (NYSE:AZN) Pulmicort Respules, among others.

The generic-drug maker's latest victim was poor Medicis Pharmaceutical (NYSE:MRX). After winning FDA approval, Teva launched generic versions of Medicis' acne treatment Solodyn yesterday. Medicis doesn't break out sales of Solodyn, but it's estimated that the drug makes up almost half of its revenue. Some of the fear of an at-risk launch was probably already priced into the stock, but Medicis still fell nearly 10% on the news yesterday. Ouch!

The launch put a lot of pressure on Medicis. The two companies could continue their ongoing patent dispute in court while Teva made money selling generic Solodyne. If Teva won the court case, Medicis would be completely out of luck. If Teva lost, Medicis could demand triple damages for the insult. Or, as a not-so-happy medium, Medicis could settle with Teva to extend its window of exclusivity for Solodyne a bit longer. That's exactly what it did.

As in Teva's prior tussle with AstraZeneca, the generic-drug maker and Medicis settled today, ensuring Teva's right to eventually sell generic Solodyn. Teva gets to keep the profits from any sales it made yesterday, and it will be able to relaunch in November 2011 at the latest. The companies didn't say, but Teva may have agreed to a royalty on the product, since Medicis claims to have patents that protect Solodyn beyond that date. Last December, Medicis settled with another generic-drug maker, Impax Laboratories (NASDAQ:IPXL), allowing the company to launch a generic form of Solodyn by November 2011 in exchange for royalties.

Medicis still has potential generic competition from Mylan (NYSE:MYL) and Novartis (NYSE:NVS), which have both applied to sell generic versions of Solodyn, but investors seem relieved for now. The stock is trading significantly higher today.

At risk launches -- even the threat of them -- are a great way for generic-drug makers to turn a low-margin business into a real moneymaker, as long as they don't end up paying court-ordered damages. No one seems to walk that fine line better than Teva.

More Foolishness:

Novartis is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Investing internationally doesn't have to be scary, and it can certainly be profitable. Click here to grab a 30-day trial subscription to the newsletter, where you'll see all of our current picks for a global economy.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.