FTC: Solvay Pharmaceuticals violated antitrust laws

WASHINGTON The maker of a hormone-replacement drug gained a monopoly and violated antitrust laws by paying three generic drug makers to delay release of their own versions, the Federal Trade Commission alleges in a suit.

The FTC said Solvay Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the topical medication Androgel (testosterone gel), told Watson Pharmaceuticals, Paddock Laboratories and Par Pharmaceuticals to delay release of generic versions of the gel until 2010, in exchange for a share of profits from the branded version.

Such deals are called exclusion payment settlements and involve branded drug makers paying generic drug makers to delay release of generic drugs. Several members of the Senate and House introduced legislation last year to challenge the practice.

Legislation has also been introduced in the House this year to prohibit the selling of authorized generics during the customary six-month exclusivity period, whereby a large drug maker will sell its drug through a generic drug maker at a reduced price to compete with the generic version.

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