Three Rivers Counter-Sues Schering Plough Corporation Over Ribavirin Patent Issue

Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a startup generic drug manufacturer, last week sued Schering Corporation in United States Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Three Rivers asserts that Schering has engaged in unfair competition under Pennsylvania law.

Three Rivers also seeks a declaration that its generic version of ribavirin does not infringe Schering’s patents, and that Schering’s patents are invalid. Three Rivers has asserted these causes of action as counterclaims in an infringement action initiated by Schering. Ribavirin has been found to be an effective treatment for hepatitis C, when used in combination with interferon. At present, only Schering’s brand of ribavirin (Rebetol) has been approved by the FDA for commercial production and sale.

Schering initiated litigation shortly after Three Rivers submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval from the FDA to manufacture and market a generic form of ribavirin manufactured using a substantially different process.

Three Rivers plans to offer their ribavirin at a substantially lower price than charged by Schering for its form of ribavirin.

“Three Rivers intends vigorously to defend itself and to press its claims against Schering for unfair competition,” said Company President, Donald Kerrish. “Three Rivers remains committed to providing a high quality, affordable generic version of ribavirin, within the financial reach of all those afflicted with hepatitis C.”

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