Bristol-Myers Pays $2.1 million in FTC Settlement

Fri, 03/27/2009 - 9:42am
NEW YORK (AP) — Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Friday it will pay the U.S. Federal Trade Commission $2.1 million to settle allegations that it attempted to pay off a generic drug developer to keep a competing version of the blockbuster drug Plavix off the market. The company admits no wrongdoing as part of the settlement deal. The case stems from the Bristol-Myers and partner Sanofi-Aventis' agreement in 2006 to pay Apotex Inc. at least $40 million to halt the sale of a generic version of the blood thinner until 2011, as part of a patent dispute. The deal fell apart when state attorneys general refused to sign off. Bristol-Myers and Sanofi-Aventis won their patent dispute against Apotex in 2007, and their case was reaffirmed by a federal circuit court in December 2008. The patent on Plavix will be maintained until 2011. Settlements between drug developers and generic drug companies over patent disputes have been under increased scrutiny by the FTC and other agencies. At issue with the "pay to delay" settlements are whether they are anticompetitive and hurt consumers. Pharmaceutical industry advocates have said the settlements help resolve costly legal battles, while still getting generic versions of the drug to the market before the patent expires. Plavix was the second best-selling drug in the world in 2008, with revenue of $7.3 billion. The deal in 2006 sparked the FBI's interest, leading to a raid on the Bistol Myers offices. Bristol-Myers had previously settled a similar series of allegations with the government for $1 million.

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