Theravance, Viatris Seek to Block Copies of COPD Drug

Title: Theravance and Viatris Seek to Block Copies of COPD Drug


Theravance Biopharma and Viatris have recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against potential competitors who are seeking approval for generic versions of their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drug, Yupelri. In this blog post, we will focus on the key points surrounding this legal case and its potential implications for the treatment of COPD.

Key Points

  1. Understanding COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that causes difficulty in breathing, coughing, and wheezing. It is a progressive condition, meaning it worsens over time, often leading to disability and mortality. There is no cure for COPD, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms to improve quality of life.
  2. Yupelri: COPD Treatment: Yupelri is a once-daily nebulized bronchodilator therapy indicated for the maintenance treatment of COPD. The medicine works by relaxing the muscles around the airways, making them wider, and helping to improve breathing. Yupelri’s approval in 2018 was a significant achievement in the field, as it was the first long-acting nebulized bronchodilator to be approved.
  3. Lawsuit to Block Generic Versions: Theravance Biopharma and Viatris have filed a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies, including Lupin, Sandoz, and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, who are seeking approval for generic versions of Yupelri. The lawsuit alleges that the potential generic versions infringe on multiple patents and seeks to block future sales of the generic drugs.
  4. Impact on COPD Treatment: The legal case has significant implications for the treatment of COPD. Yupelri has been shown to offer significant clinical benefits to people living with COPD, such as improving lung function and reducing the frequency of flare-ups. If Yupelri’s generic versions become available on the market, it may limit patient access to the branded medication, leading to suboptimal treatment outcomes.
  5. Importance of Intellectual Property Protections: The legal case highlights the importance of intellectual property protection for the pharmaceutical industry. The development and commercialization of innovative medicines like Yupelri require significant investment in research and development. Intellectual property protections, including patents, provide the necessary incentives and protections to promote further advancements in medicine development for the benefit of patients.
  6. Challenges in Offering Affordable Medications: While intellectual property protections are essential for encouraging pharmaceutical innovation, challenges remain in providing affordable medication access to patients. High drug prices have become a significant barrier for many individuals in accessing necessary healthcare. Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach that balances patient access with the need for innovation and commercial viability.
  7. Hope for Continued Advances in COPD Treatment: While the legal case is ongoing, it is essential to recognize that innovations in COPD treatment continue to progress. Ongoing research and development efforts strive to improve the effectiveness and safety of COPD therapies, offering hope for improved quality of life and survival outcomes for individuals living with the disease.


Theravance Biopharma and Viatris’ legal case against potential generic versions of Yupelri poses significant implications for the treatment of COPD. Intellectual property protections are necessary to encourage further advancements in treatment options for patients, but the issue of affordable access to medication must also be addressed. Nevertheless, ongoing research and development efforts provide hope for continued progress in the treatment of COPD, emphasizing the importance of continued investment in scientific advancements. Ultimately, the goal is to improve quality of life for individuals living with COPD and work toward reducing the burden of this devastating disease.