Merck’s Wholly Owned Subsidiary Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Awarded $2.54 Billion for Infringement of a Hepatitis C Drug Patent


December 15, 2016 5:08 pm ET

KENILWORTH, N.J. – Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that a jury in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware ordered Gilead Sciences, Inc. to pay $2.54 billion in damages for infringing upon an Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. patent for methods used to develop sofosbuvir-based medicines for the treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, including Sovaldi and Harvoni.

The jury’s verdict upholds patent protections that are essential to the development of new medical treatments. Given that it guarantees a period of return on investment, patent protection provides the research-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries with an incentive to invest in research and development.

The patent at issue in this case facilitated significant advances in the treatment of patients with HCV infection and was appropriately granted. Achieving these advancements required many years of research and significant investment by our subsidiary and its partners.

The jury awarded the damages as compensation for infringement through August 2016. In its decision, the jury also concluded that Gilead “willfully” infringed upon the patent. As a result, Judge Leonard P. Stark, may, at his discretion, increase the damages award up to a multiple of three times.

About Merck

For 125 years, Merck has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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