Teva sells rights to gain FTC nod for Cephalon deal

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) has won regulatory approval for its proposed $6.2 billion merger with Cephalon--on a few conditions, that is. The company agreed to sell off the rights to Cephalon's pain drug Actiq and to a generic version of the muscle relaxant, Amrix. And it's agreeing to supply a rival generics maker with a version of Provigil, Cephalon's blockbuster wakefulness drug.

The beneficiary of these conditions is Par Pharmaceuticals, which gets the right to sell knockoff Provigil for a one-year period that includes the six-month exclusivity that follows patent expiration. Par's Actiq rights will put it in competition with generics sold by Watson Pharmaceuticals and Covidien, Bloomberg reports. Amrix isn't yet available in generic form, but if Teva had been allowed to keep those rights, it would have reduced competition for the drug when copies do hit the market.

"This settlement preserves competitive markets for current generic drugs, which are key to holding down the cost of healthcare for consumers," Richard Feinstein, director of FTC's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. "It also ensures there will be competition among generic drugs introduced in the future."

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