The growing resentment over how pharmaceutical companies conduct business just caved in on Merck. According to the LA Times, Federal Judge Beth Labson Freeman of San Jose found that big pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co., lied to their business partner and to the court. The judge tossed out a $200 million dollar settlement which Merck had won against Gilead Sciences. The original judgement involved patent infringement.
It’s also an enormous black eye for Merck, whose activities the judge said consisted of “systematic and outrageous deception in conjunction with unethical business practices and litigation misconduct.”
But the case does more than raise questions about the integrity of a huge corporation. It’s a window into the extent to which the nation’s overworked patent inspectors can be misled by applicants backed by big corporate war chests in pursuit of billions of dollars in potential profits.ADVERTISEMENT
Legal experts have wrestled with that issue for years. “Catching fraud or other forms of cheating in the patent process is unlikely given the practical limits of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” T. Leigh Anenson and Gideon Mark of the University of Maryland wrote in a 2013 law review article.
Now Merck is forbidden from taking any money from Gilead Sciences. Here’s more documentation.
The state of distrust for pharmaceutical companies has never been more intense, as this new revelation shows us.