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Barr antitrust suit moves forward

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WASHINGTON A group of antitrust cases against Barr Pharmaceuticals and Warner Chilcott filed by three store chains will continue, a federal district court judge has ruled.

Walgreens, CVS and Midwestern big-box chain Meijer filed the suit against the generic drug maker in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that Barr and drug maker Warner Chilcott violated antitrust laws in 2004 by agreeing to delay introduction of a generic version of Warner Chilcott’s hormone contraceptive Ovcon (ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone).

Following a settlement between the chains and Warner Chilcott, however, Barr is now the sole defendant.

Under the agreement, Barr agreed with Warner Chilcott that for a five-year period, it would not sell the generic Ovcon and would supply Warner Chilcott with the drug. Barr said the agreement favored consumers and competition.

The court ruled that the agreement did not violate antitrust laws, but it could not resolve the definition of the market for the drug on summary judgment. A status hearing will take place Sept. 17.

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