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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Courts - "Justices to Take Up Generic Drug Case"

This long Dec. 7 story in the NY Times, reported by Edward Wyatt, begins:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said on Friday that it would decide whether a pharmaceutical company should be allowed to pay a competitor millions of dollars to keep a generic copy of a best-selling drug off the market.

The case could settle a decade-long battle between federal regulators, who say the deals violate antitrust law, and the pharmaceutical industry, which contends that they are really just settlements of disputes over patents that protect the billions of dollars they pour into research and development.

Three separate federal circuit courts of appeal have ruled over the last decade that the deals were allowable. But in July a federal appeals court in Philadelphia — which covers the territory where many big drug makers are based — said the arrangements were anticompetitive.

Both sides in the case supported the petition for the Supreme Court to decide the case, each arguing that the conflicting appeals court decisions would inject uncertainty into their operations.

By keeping lower-priced generic drugs off the market, drug companies are able to charge higher prices than they otherwise could.

For more, see Lyle Denniston's SCOTUSblog post, updated Monday after the case was docketed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 11, 2012 12:39 PM
Posted to Courts in general