FTC cracks down on drug companies' patents, including Novo's Ozempic; analysts comment Investing.com

On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it was challenging hundreds of so-called “junk” patents related to 20 brand-name drugs, including Novo Nordisk's best-selling drugs Ozempic, Saxenda and Victoza.

The regulator believes the patents were mistakenly or inappropriately listed, marking a major step in its broader campaign to modify or remove entries in the Orange Book it deems inappropriate and blocking the entry of generic drugs. The Orange Book refers to the document in which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) manages its patented list of approved drugs.

“Drug companies hinder competition and drive up the cost of prescription drugs by filing false patent listings, forcing Americans to pay sky-high prices for the drugs they rely on,” FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan said in a press release.

“By challenging junk patent applications, the FTC is fighting these illegal tactics and ensuring Americans have timely access to innovative and affordable versions of the medicines they need.”

Commenting on the FTC's move, TD Cowen analysts said:

“We continue to assume that U.S. exclusivity for the semaglutide product will be lost when the API patent expires in December 2031, consistent with Novo's comments.”

“Given that the FTC did not challenge this patent – which represents the most reliable form of protection for Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus – it does not appear to be at risk from this action.”

Additionally, Patent 10,335,462, a method-of-use patent that protects Ozempic until 2033, was not targeted by the FTC.

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