In 2001, the Medicines Company just missed the application deadline for a patent extension for its main product, Angiomax, a blood thinner. Because of this error, the patent on the product will expire next week instead of in 2014.
And, because sales of Angiomax account for virtually all of Medicines’ revenue, the company has spent millions of dollars, and the last nine years trying to undo this error. In essence, the patent precludes the production of a comparable generic drug from being made.
According to the March 18 New York Times article, Clive A. Meanwell, Medicines’ chief executive was quoted as saying: “It’s a draconian penalty for an administrative mistake.”
The company spent $4.4 million on lobbyists just in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Medicines appealed two times to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, then sued when the appeals were rejected. The company also hired lobbyists to try to get federal legislation passed that critics called “The Dog Ate My Homework Act” that would retroactively permit the patent office to accept the company’s late application.
On Tuesday, Judge Claude M. Hilton of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va. ordered the patent office to reconsider the rejection of Medicines’ 2001 filing. The ruling also ordered the patent office to ensure the Angiomax patent did not expire during the reconsideration period.
The Medicines Company says two law firms botched the application to the patent office, and is in talks with them about recovering damages, according to the same New York Times article.
The Medicines Company is focused on advancing the treatment of critical care patients through the delivery of innovative, cost-effective medicines to the worldwide hospital marketplace.