Report: Banning 'pay for delay' settlements likely won't happen

NEW YORK — Legislation to ban patent litigation settlements between branded and generic drug companies appears unlikely to find success, according to published reports.

The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress, reported on Sunday that language in the Senate appropriations bill that would ban so-called “pay for delay” settlements between drug makers did not appear likely to pass. The newspaper reported that the Senate appeared likely to support a resolution supported by the House that did not contain the language.

The deals, whereby a generic drug maker that has won the right to market its version of a drug prior to the expiration of the branded drug’s patent agrees to put off launching its version in exchange for the brand company paying it — in the form of cash or, more commonly, a promise not to launch an “authorized generic,” essentially the branded drug marketed under its generic name at a lower price — have attracted controversy in recent years. Opponents, including the Federal Trade Commission, said the deals unfairly keep cheaper generic drugs off the market, while supporters, including generic and brand drug makers, said they still allow generic launch before patent expiration, and that delaying launch after patent expiration would be illegal anyway.

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