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Barr generic birth control pill delayed in wake of Warner Chilcott suit

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WASHINGTON Barr Pharmaceuticals will delay the introduction of a low-priced, generic version of a Warner Chilcott birth control pill in exchange for $20 million, the Federal Trade Commission reported Thursday.

Under terms of the settlement, which will stay in effect for 10 years, Barr agreed not to enter into deals with name-brand pharmaceutical companies that would “unreasonably restrain competition,” and to inform the FTC about future arrangements that might prove objectionable.

The FTC had threatened Warner Chilcott with a preliminary injunction that would have forced the company to abandon development of a chewable form of Ovcon if it did not come to agreement with the agency.

The company, based in Rockaway, N.J., had settled part of its litigation with Barr last October. Barr began selling a generic version of the oral contraceptive, Ovcon, shortly afterward.

The federal complaint was originally filed in Nov. 2005, and referred to a 2004 agreement between Barr and Warner Chilcott that allegedly would have delayed marketing of generic Ovcon until 2009. “As a result of the FTC’s actions, women taking Ovcon now have the choice to purchase a lower-cost generic version of the product,” the commission said in its release.

Warner Chilcott, which produces pharmaceuticals mainly for women’s health and dermatology, sued Barr in September after the generic pharma company submitted an application for a generic version of another contraceptive, known as Femcon FE. Warner Chilcott stated its patent doesn’t expire until 2019.

Barr’s application for FDA approval will be on hold for 30 months because of the lawsuit filing.

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