Big pharma claims Supreme victory

In a ruling heralded as a big win for big pharma -- and a loss for smaller biotechs -- the Supreme Court ruled that drug developers can experiment with compounds still under patent. Industry groups joined the AARP in trumpeting the 9-0 ruling, saying that it should reduce the cost of drug trials and speed new drugs. But experts noted that the ruling is likely to hurt small biotechs that need licensing funds on patented compounds to grow. Some also said that the ruling greatly expanded the scope of a 1984 law that was intended to speed the development of generic drugs.

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