AstraZeneca and Merck & Co. said the Food and Drug Administration approved six-month extensions of exclusive marketing rights for Lisinopril, a heart drug that each company sells in the U.S. under a different name.
The FDA granted the additional protection until June 29 after each company supplied the agency with research on the use of the drug in children. AstraZeneca sells the drug as Zestril and Merck sells it as Prinivil.
The FDA approvals keep cheaper generic versions of the drug off the market through mid-2002. Lisinopril can cost about $1.40 a pill in the U.S.
AstraZeneca's American depositary receipts rose 53 cents to $46.21 on the NYSE. Merck shares rose $1.12 to $67.05 on the NYSE.