On March 27, FDA granted final approval to 10 drug companies for their generic versions of AstraZeneca's Seroquel® (quetiapine fumarate) tablets. Seroquel® is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and to treat and prevent mania or depression in patients with bipolar disease. Seroquel® is AstraZeneca's second-best selling drug, generating $5.83 billion in revenue in 2011.
On March 28, 2012, the majority, if not all, of the ANDA filers launched their products. Also on March 28, 2012, AstraZeneca filed a complaint against FDA stating that it is entitled to exclusive rights for Seroquel® until December 2, 2012, and FDA's approval of these ANDAs was unlawful and will cause AstraZeneca irreparable harm. AstraZeneca had filed another law suit against FDA prior to the ANDA approvals, but this suit was dismissed without prejudice on March 23, 2012 based on a lack of ripeness (see our blog on this here). The Court held that AstraZeneca could seek a new action "[s]hould the FDA ever give final approval to a competing generic in a manner that is not to AstraZeneca's liking." Four days later, FDA provided Astrazeneca with notice of approval of the ANDAs for Seroquel®, and AstraZeneca filed the current suit on March 28, 2012.Similar to the arguments made in the first suit, AstraZeneca claims that it is entitled to a three-year new-patient- population exclusivity period as a result of a labeling change that FDA mandated in the supplemental NDAs that were approved on December 2, 2009. AstraZeneca argues that it is improper for FDA to approve any ANDAs prior to December 3, 2012, because AstraZeneca has exclusive rights to the clinical data that FDA required to be added to its Seroquel® and Seroquel XR® labels.