The Federal Circuit rendered a decision in Novo Nordisk A/S v. Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. on June 18, 2013, finding that a Novo Nordisk diabetes treatment patent involving the combination of the drugs metformin and repaglinide was an obvious combination of known diabetes treatment drugs, despite certain factual findings of the combination’s unexpected results. Combination drugs, such as Novo Nordisk’s metformin-repaglinide treatment for diabetes, have been increasingly found to be effective for treating a variety of ailments, but their development is typically incredibly expensive and time-consuming. This Federal Circuit decision could adversely affect investment in developing combination drugs, which in turn would affect the availability of these often very effective treatments. The decision also highlights the deference (or lack thereof) given to patent examiner findings during prosecution.
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