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Merck, Teva Near Settlement Over Vytorin Copy, Records Show

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Merck & Co. is close to settling patent lawsuits against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. over a generic version of the cholesterol drug Vytorin, according to a federal court document.

The two sides have asked to put on hold patent suits that Merck’s Schering unit filed in 2009 and 2010 to prevent Teva from selling a generic version of the drug. U.S. Magistrate Judge Esther Salas in Newark, New Jersey, delayed all actions until June 1 “to finalize settlement,” the May 3 filing shows.

Vytorin generated $480 million in global sales in the first quarter for Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck, the company said May 3. That includes $247 million in U.S. sales, said Ron Rogers, a spokesman for Merck. The company had filed suit to prevent Teva from selling copies of the medicine until patents expire in 2014 and 2017.

Rogers said “the filing speaks for itself” when asked about a potential agreement. Denise Bradley, a spokeswoman for Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva, said the company had no comment.

The cases are Schering Corp. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., 10cv1058 and 10-4473, both U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Newark).

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Allan Holmes at aholmes25@bloomberg.net

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