The Federal Trade Commission is none too happy with Big Pharma's dealmaking with generics companies. Drugmakers are using legal settlements with copycat manufacturers to keep cheaper meds off the market, the FTC said, adding that what's good for companies in this instance is bad for consumers.
Over the 12 months ended September 30, almost half of the 33 agreements settling patent lawsuits included a restriction on the generic maker's ability to market a drug in return for compensation, the FTC's report said. The agency has sued to block some of these agreements and is supporting a bill in Congress that would ban them.
These sorts of deals have been on the rise over the past couple of years; there were three in fiscal 2005, 14 in 2006, and 14 last year. And the FTC has had only limited success in unraveling them: two appeals courts in 2005 upheld generic-delaying agreements made by Schering-Plough and AstraZeneca.