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FTC Blasts Generic Drug Deals

Filed August 15th, 2012 Laurie

The Federal Trade Commission says that the makers of branded drugs are delaying generic competition by settling patents by agreeing not to launch their own generic alternatives.
The regulatory agency said in a friend-of-the-court brief that such settlements are a way of paying a generic rival to delay their entry into the market.

Currently, a federal court in New Jersey that oversees many lawsuits against drug makers is considering an antitrust challenge to a similar agreement between Pfizer Inc.’s Wyeth unit and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the world’s largest generic drug maker.

“Empirical evidence confirms what the pharmaceutical industry has long understood: that a no-(authorized generic) commitment provides a convenient method for branded drug firms to pay generic patent challengers for agreeing to delay entry,” the agency said in the proposed friend-of-the-court brief filed on Friday.

The FTC comments were made in antitrust litigation by drugstore firms CVS Caremark Corp and Rite Aid Corp, which have accused Pfizer and Teva of conspiring to prevent generic versions of the popular antidepressant Effexor XR from reaching store shelves.
Per Pfizer’s agreement with Teva, the entry of a generic alternative to Effexor XR will be delayed seven years, when the drug’s patent expires.

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