Hatch-Waxman Act
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An Early Holiday Present for Generics? Legislation Requiring Greater Disclosure by Brands Passes the Senate

Earlier this month, two bills intended to promote generic competitiveness by presenting a clearer idea of the patent landscape covering reference products passed the full Senate, albeit with amendments. These laws, if enacted, will require brand pharmaceutical companies to submit more information about their innovator products.

Potential Changes to Orange Book Listing Requirements for Non-Biologics Drugs

As part of its current obligations, an innovator product manufacturer must submit to the FDA the patent number and expiration date of any patents that claim the drug or a method of using the drug. The FDA then performs the ministerial function of listing the information in the Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations, known as the Orange Book. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits generic manufacturers to file a counterclaim to delist a patent that they believe is improperly listed. Over the years, FDA has issued technical regulations expanding on the requirements, which under statute, are relatively sparse. However, there has been some uncertainty regarding what patents must be listed—especially in the case of drug products with innovative delivery systems.

The Orange Book Transparency Act of 2020, H.R. 1503, seeks to codify certain existing regulations and bring some certainty to the process. First, the Orange Book Act provides greater clarity on the types of patents a brand company must list. Currently, the relevant statutes require submission of patent information for “any patent which claims the drug for which the applicant submitted the application or which claims a method of using such drug” that could be asserted based on the manufacture, use, or sale of the drug. The Orange Book Act would alter that language to require submission of patent information for patents that claim the drug substance (active ingredient), the drug product (formulation or composition), or a method of use that is included in the application (i.e., a method of use that corresponds with an approved indication/use code). All other patents—e.g., patents that cover off-label use—must not be listed.

Second, the FDA would be responsible for “specify[ing] any exclusivity period that is applicable,” including the 180-day exclusivity period for first-to-file applicants.

Finally, the Orange Book Act codifies certain existing agency requirements. Under current FDA regulations, brand manufacturers are required to promptly request delisting if they determine that a patent no longer qualifies or its relevant claims are invalidated, and within 14 days if court-ordered. The Orange Book Act would codify the duty on brand manufacturers to remove listed patents within 14 days—rather than “promptly”—when any claim of a listed patent “has been cancelled or invalidated pursuant to a final decision” by the Patent Trial & Appeal Board or a court once it is unappealable. This quick turnaround time of communicating to the public which patents have been found invalid will be key to giving generics an advantage in developing generic products and patents covering branded drug products invalid. The Orange Book Act includes a 30-day period for a brand manufacturer to list a patent after issuance; this requirement mirrors already existing FDA regulations.

While [...]

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Venue in Hatch-Waxman Cases Limited to District Where ANDA Is Submitted

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that in cases brought under the Hatch-Waxman Act, for purposes of determining venue, infringement occurs only in districts where actions related to the submission of an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) occur, and not in all locations where future distribution of the generic products specified in the ANDA is contemplated. Valeant Pharmaceuticals North American LLC v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., Case No. 19-2402 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 5, 2020) (O’Malley, J.).

Valeant holds a new drug application for the brand name drug Jublia®, which is used to treat toenail fungal infections. In 2018, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MPI) executed an ANDA seeking approval to market a generic version of Jublia®. MPI sent the ANDA from its West Virginia corporate office to the US Food and Drug Administration, located in White Oak, Maryland. The ANDA included a Paragraph IV certification that the Orange-Book-listed patents for Jublia® were invalid, unenforceable or would not be infringed by the ANDA product. After the ANDA was filed, Valeant filed suit in the District of New Jersey against MPI, Mylan Inc. and Mylan Laboratories Ltd. (MLL) pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, alleging infringement of the Orange-Book-listed patents. Valeant also filed an essentially identical lawsuit in the Northern District of West Virginia against the same three defendants. MPI is a West Virginia corporation with a principal place of business in Morgantown, West Virginia. Mylan Inc. is a Pennsylvania corporation with a principal place of business in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. MLL is an Indian corporation with a principal place of business in Hyderabad, India.

The Mylan entities moved to dismiss the New Jersey litigation, arguing that venue was improper under 28 USC § 1400(b) because none of the Mylan defendants reside or have a regular and established place of business in New Jersey, and the only alleged act of infringement (submission of the ANDA) did not occur in New Jersey. In response, Valeant argued that it was unduly narrow to limit “act of infringement” to the act of submitting the ANDA, and that the court should consider the Mylan entities’ planned future acts, which included acts of infringement in New Jersey. The district court granted the Mylan entities’ motion based on improper venue, finding that the ANDA was submitted from West Virginia and thus venue was proper there. Valeant appealed.

The two issues presented on appeal were the proper venue in Hatch-Waxman cases after TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, and the proper venue for patent cases brought against foreign entities. Starting with the first issue, the Federal Circuit explained that determining whether venue is proper under § 1400(b) in a district other than the state in which a defendant is incorporated requires determining where the defendant committed acts of infringement. Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, it is an act of infringement to submit an ANDA for a drug claimed in a patent if the purpose of the submission is to obtain approval to engage in commercial activities related to the drug before [...]

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Inherent Claim Limitation Necessarily Present in the Prior Art Invalidates Patent

Addressing the issue of obviousness, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that a patent was invalid based on inherency because the claim limitation was necessarily present in the prior art. Hospira, Inc. v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC, Case Nos. 19-1329, -1367 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 9, 2020) (Lourie, J).

The patent at-issue is directed to premixed pharmaceutical compositions of dexmedetomidine that do not require reconstitution or dilution prior to administration and remains stable and active after prolonged storage. Hospira makes and sells dexmedetomidine products, including a ready-to-use product called Precedex Premix covered by the patent at-issue. Fresenius filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) seeking approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market a generic ready-to-use dexmedetomidine product. Hospira brought suit alleging infringement under the Hatch-Waxman Act.

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