FTC loses pay-for-delay claim against Solvay

Want to know why President Obama included new restrictions on those "pay-for-delay" agreements between Big Pharma and generics makers? Here's a possibility: The Federal Trade Commission just lost an antitrust suit against Solvay Pharmaceuticals that alleged the company conspired with generic-drug makers to delay competition for AndroGel, a testosterone-replacement drug, Pharmalot reports.

The FTC has been on the warpath after pay-for-delay, claiming that such deals cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year by keeping cheaper copycat meds off the market. The effort intensified after President Obama took office, and now the White House has proposed a ban on the deals as part of its healthcare reform package.

In this case, FTC claimed that Solvay--now owned by Abbott Laboratories--made deals with Watson Pharmaceuticals, Par Pharmaceutical and Paddock Labs to delay the introduction of their generic versions of AndroGel. Solvay allegedly paid each company a share of AndroGel profits in return for their delaying their generic copies until 2015 and dropping any patent challenge related to the drug.

Oh, well, the FTC said when Dow Jones asked about the case. Yes, the ruling was "disappointing," the FTC's competition bureau chief Richard Feinstein tells the news service. But "a new law is the quickest and most effective way" to get after pay-for-delay, he adds. We'll keep you posted.

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