GENERIC DRUGS: FTC Probes Drugmakers’ Patent Settlements
Concerned that some "brand-name companies are paying off generic companies after suing them for patent infringement," USA Today reports that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating at least four deals they think "may be stealing some of the promise of cheap, widely available generic drugs." Under investigation are:
- Zeneca Pharmaceuticals: Authorities are questioning Zeneca's deal with Barr Laboratories over the breast cancer drug tamoxifen. The "settlement" gave Barr exclusive rights to distribute a generic version of the drug manufactured by Zeneca.
- Abbott Laboratories: To settle a patent lawsuit over the blood pressure medication Hytrin, Abbott paid Ivax Pharmaceuticals $24 million and Geneva Pharmaceuticals an undisclosed amount until a generic version went to market.
- Eli Lilly: In a deal that some say extends its patent, Eli Lilly paid Sepracor $70 million in cash and gave them a $20 million contract to develop a "purified form of Prozac."
- Hoechst Marion Roussel: The company paid Andrx $100 million to keep a generic version of the heart medication Cardizem CD off the shelf.