FTC: Record count on pay-for-delay deals

Federal Trade Commission versus generic-drug delays, round 10: The agency released a report yesterday showing that the number of patent disputes settled with cash payments grew to 19 in 2009 from 16 the previous year. And in 2004, the number of those settlements was absolutely zero.

The report also shows that the cash settlements branded drugmakers pay to generics companies keep competition off the market by 17 months longer than do patent settlements in which no cash changes hands, Dow Jones reports. "Pay-for-delay deals are a bad prescription for America: when drug companies agree not to compete, consumers lose," says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement. "Ending this practice as part of health care reform is one simple, effective, and straightforward way for Congress to help control drug costs."

As we reported yesterday, a group of House lawmakers is trying to push a ban on these "pay-for-delay" settlements. The restriction is already part of the House version of reform, but it's not assured of a place in the final bill. The new FTC report appears designed to bolster those lawmakers' efforts; the FTC has been fighting against pay-for-delay for years.

Some senators are supporting the ban as well; as Dow Jones reports, Sens. Herb Kohl and Amy Klobuchar wrote to Senate leadership late last year to urge them to support it. No word yet on how the Senate has responded to the FTC report.

- see the FTC release
- read the FTC report (.pdf)
- read the Dow Jones story
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