The U.S. Supreme Court passed on a chance to check out "pay for delay" deals between drugmakers and generics firms. Bad news for critics of those deals, which happen to include the federal government. Bad news, that is, until the next Cipro-deal case works its way to appeal. But more on that later.
First, the news: The High Court declined to hear an appeal by the Arkansas Carpenter's Health and Welfare Fund, which had sued Bayer over the drugmaker's $398 million deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (actually Barr Pharmaceutical, which Teva since bought). In return for the cash, Barr agreed not to sell a copycat version of Bayer's high-powered antibiotic Cipro. The pension fund called the deal anti-competitive. A federal appeals court ruled that the payments weren't illegal; the Supremes said they don't need to review that decision.
Lo and behold, however, drug wholesalers and retailers have also sued over the Cipro agreements. And that case is still pending. The Obama administration plans to file a brief in that case, Dow Jones reports; we'll see if that makes any difference to how the appeals court rules.