(BOSTON, MA) – “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the Federal Trade Commission in FTC v. Actavis is a victory for consumers. SCOTUS overturned a lower court decision and has now cleared the way for FTC to protect patients by challenging these ‘pay-for-delay’ deals between BigPharma and generics companies.
“The Court’s holding is a great step forward in protecting consumers’ timely access to affordable medications, as intended in the Hatch-Waxman Act. It lets our nation’s antitrust laws work, by empowering the FTC, state Attorneys-General, and consumers themselves to challenge anti-competitive collusion and manipulation of the drug market. This decision should inspire generic drug makers to abandon deal-making with BigPharma and instead challenge weak brand-name drug patents to get generics on the market more quickly.
“We are heartened by the court’s acknowledgement that pay-for-delay deals allow powerful brand-name patent holders and generic companies to divide the spoils of higher drug prices, leaving consumers to pay the balance. As the FTC has reported, delaying generic access to drugs has serious financial and health impacts on individual Americans. For example, Tanna Taylor, a state-insured librarian from Mississippi, paid from $1,400-$1,800 a month for Provigil for over 10 years, often having to pay for her prescription with a credit card. Because of a pay-for-delay deal between drug maker Cephalon and its generic rival, Teva, the drug’s generic was delayed for over six of those years. Once the pay-for-delay deal expired in December, her co-pay went down to $7 a month-the price it should have been back in 2006.
“We now call on Congress to unseal these cases so potential litigants can determine the scope and pervasiveness of the problem. We support a full ban on pay-for-delay deals, to provide consumers lower out-of-pocket costs and co-pays, increase access to medicine for the uninsured, and lower Americans’ premiums and overall health care costs. The Supreme Court has opened the door for Congress to take action, and now it must.”
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1997 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.
Community Catalyst’s Prescription Access Litigation Project has helped consumers and insurers file class action lawsuits to challenge pay-for-delay deals that have blocked consumer’s access to affordable generic versions of the drugs Provigil, Cipro, Oxycontin, K-Dur, and Tamoxifen.