Senators challenge FTC on leaks to Watson competitor

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz is on the hot seat this week. He faced intense scrutiny from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, especially Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Arlen Specter (D-PA), over allegations that the agency shared proprietary information on Watson Pharmaceuticals with a competing generic drugmaker.

The senators are investigating charges that the agency improperly tried to cut a deal between Watson and the other drugmaker, Apotex.  The FTC has been investigating patent settlements cut by Cephalon with various generic drugmakers, including Watson, regarding sleep-disorder drug Provigil. Watson chief executive Paul Bisaro has since alleged that the FTC pushed to engineer the entry of a generic version of Provigil by bringing it his firm together with Apotex.

At the hearing, Hatch asked Leibowitz about Watson's allegations. "What concerns me is that FTC apparently did not deny any of these allegations," said Hatch, as quoted by Medical Marketing and Media. "The reason we haven't responded to this yet," answered Leibowitz, "is that's a filing in response to our insistence that the CEO be subpoenaed. It's one thing for a company to disagree with our case...It's another to not even be deposed. We will respond in court papers."

- read this Wall Street Journal piece
- see the MM&M report