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A court in America has ruled against pharmaceutical giant Bayer in a patent dispute over its oral contraceptive Yasmin (drospirenone/ethinyl Estradiol).
The US District Court in New Jersey rejected the validity of Bayer Schering Pharma’s patent on the drug after Barr Pharmaceuticals challenged it, the company said in a statement.
The decision means that Bayer no longer holds exclusive production rights for the treatment, although it will retain exclusive distribution rights in the US until March 2009.
A statement released by Bayer after the ruling said: “Bayer disagrees with the court’s decision and will consider its legal options in this regard.”
Companies can see profits slide after they lose a drug patent, as it allows generic firms to manufacture cheaper versions of the product.
Bayer said that it is currently assessing the full impact of the ruling, but added that it has already adjusted its profit margin for Bayer Schering Pharma, the branch of the company that produces Yasmin.
Last year sales of the contraceptive in the US totalled $487.9m.
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