| WASHINGTON, March 28
WASHINGTON, March 28 The U.S. Federal Trade
Commission seeks a settlement of $1 billion or more from
pharmaceutical companies it has sued for delaying the sale of
cheaper medicines after patents on brand-name drugs may have
expired, an FTC official told a legal conference on Friday.
The antitrust agency alleges that the way drugmakers settle
patent-related lawsuits hurts consumers by making drugs more
expensive. In the settlements, makers of brand-name drugs pay
millions of dollars to generics companies while they delay
putting their products on the U.S. market.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTC may
challenge the deals in federal courts.
A panel moderator at the American Bar Association's spring
antitrust meeting asked Deborah Feinstein, the director of the
FTC's Bureau of Competition, what developments to expect in the
"My hope is that we get a billion-dollar settlement in one
of the patent-settlement, pay-for-delay cases," Feinstein
responded, giving no indication that any settlement was
imminent. The FTC's long-running lawsuits are not close to going
"In all truth, that is one of the biggest priorities we
have," she said. "The consumer harm there is extremely
significant, and so we have a tremendous amount of resources
there and hope to come out with a victory one way or another in
Defendants in the lawsuits include Solvay Pharmaceuticals
Inc, owned by AbbVie Inc ; Actavis, previously
Watson Pharmaceuticals; Paddock Laboratories Inc, part of
Perrigo Co ; Par Pharmaceutical Companies
Inc ; and Cephalon Inc, owned by Teva.
Generic drugmakers like the "pay for delay" arrangements
because if they bring out their products before
patent-infringement litigation is over, they run the risk of
paying triple damages on sales if they are found to have
The FTC shares antitrust authority in the United States with
the U.S. Justice Department.
(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Howard Goller and Alden