FTC chief plots assault on 'pay-for-delay'

Before the inauguration, we spent a lot of time speculating about how President Obama might affect pharma. Now, the Federal Trade Commissioner is getting in on the act--and his prediction isn't likely to bring cheer to your favorite branded drugmakers.

Commissioner Jon Leibowitz says he thinks the new administration will mount a serious effort to stop branded drugmakers from cutting deals with generics firms to keep copycat drugs off the market. As you know, these "pay for delay" arrangements have come under increased scrutiny lately, both in Europe and in the U.S. Some antitrust types believe that the deals violate rules because they allow pharma companies to maintain "a monopoly for several extra years," CongressDaily reports.

"The new administration does seem to recognize that this is a real problem," Leibowitz told the publication. He added that "fixing it ... would actually help pay for health care reform." And given Obama's desire to effect that reform, the latter could be a clincher.

Leibowitz said FTC will take a two-pronged approach to stopping "pay-for-delay" settlements. First, the agency will challenge the most anti-competitive settlements in court, and secondly, it will support legislation against such deals. He expects the Justice Department to be more supportive in court than the Bush folks were.

- read the story at Medical News Today