Patients who took part in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' testing of its flagship drug Copaxone are suing the generic drug giant, demanding it reveal the results of the trial.
Teva has refused, citing "top-secret trade secrets."
The trial at the center of the debate was conducted at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital from November 2006 to November 2007. It involved 13 patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting the motor neurons. It sought to test whether Copaxone, a multiple sclerosis drug, could help patients with ALS.
Three participants filed a suit against Teva and Ichilov in January, saying they were asked to participate in the research without receiving relevant information. Ultimately, they learned that the trial had no solid basis, they argued.
The company offered a compromise, offering to hand over the "confidential" documents if the plaintiffs swore to secrecy and used them only for the court proceedings. If a party wants to submit "to the court something based on these documents, the document will be submitted separately, in an opaque envelope, which will be kept in a court safe," it said.
The plaintiffs argue that this is merely an attempt by Teva to hide embarrassing aspects of the trial. "Teva's entire goal is to keep the public from knowing," attorney Ahuva Ticho, who represents the patients, told the court.
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