has a nice article outlining the issues that can arise in a large pharma mega-merger such as between French pharmaceuticals company Aventis SA takeover by Gallic rival Sanofi-Synthélabo SA, in a €53.3 billion ($69.1 billion) after Paris intervened to fend off a Swiss attempt. The results are still mixed.

Sanofi-Aventis SA, the world’s No. 3 drug company, faces patent challenges to its three biggest-selling drugs — blood thinners Plavix and Lovenox and allergy drug Allegra and the patent on a fourth blockbuster drug, Ambien, used in the treatment of insomnia, expires in 2006.

If Sanofi-Aventis loses the court cases, generic drugmakers will certainly take a substantial portion of the $5.3 billion in sales revenue the three products earned last year.

A preliminary hearing on Plavix is slated for May 13. The challenges to the patent’s on Lovenox and Allegra could be heard in September. The outcome will certainly be looked at carefully by large pharmas and generics with equal interest.

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